The Odds According to John Skipper


Surrounded by reporters at ESPN’s upfront event Tuesday morning, John Skipper, the network’s SVP and GM, was peppered with questions about the big news in the business of sports: the likelihood of an NFL season and the possibility that EPSN and its parent, The Walt Disney Co., could win rights to future Olympic Games.

Putting it in its simplest form, Skipper said the odds on ESPN getting the Olympics were about one in three, while the odds on the NFL playing games at some point this year were about one in two.

As far as the Olympics go, Skipper said he expected to make a “competitive bid,” and added that when that happens “win win our fair share.” Like incumbent NBC, ESPN, has a lot of networks to put events, including live events, on, he noted.

With the NFL, he said, there was no way to replace Monday Night Football, and if some of those games get cancelled, the network will have to “make it up” as it goes along. But he added that as far as ad revenue is concerned, ESPN has “a lot of other stuff” that it will be televising during what is normally football season.