The Future of ESPN, Post-John Skipper

March 16, 2018

When former ESPN President John Skipper resigned in December, shock waves rippled through the sports network.

But this week, The Hollywood Reporter’s James Andrew Miller revealed that behind that departure was a cocaine extortion plot, just adding to the disbelief.

No one Miller spoke to “saw any kind of indication that he had been using,” the reporter told Cheddar Friday. “There was just widespread shock.”

Even Skipper himself did not know he would resign when he did. That day “he woke up as president of ESPN, fully believing he was going to continue to be president of ESPN,” Miller explained.

But Skipper told him that he was “threatened concerning a purchase of cocaine” by an unidentified person.

After revealing this to Bob Iger, CEO at Disney, which owns ESPN, Skipper resigned, leaving behind a company he had worked at for almost three decades.

During his time as president, Skipper led the company’s aggressive push to secure long-term agreements with sports leagues to cover live events.

But the network has been losing subscribers for years, and its outlook even under Skipper was already murky.

Miller said ESPN is now “straddling two eras.”

“It’s got one foot in this unbelievably successful past, and it’s got another foot in a very, very uncertain future because of cord-cutting and rising programming costs.

“There’s a lot more uncertainties about what ESPN will be like five or ten years from now than there probably ever has been in its history.”

For the full interview, click here.