John Skipper, who resigned as ESPN president in December after admitting to a years-long “substance addiction,” has been named executive chairman of Perform Group, a sports media company that operates numerous websites along with an over-the-top subscription service that offers live sporting events in a number of countries.
“John is one of the most significant leaders in the history of our industry, and I am delighted that he has agreed to join me and the team to help take Perform to the next level of our ambitions,” Perform Group CEO Simon Denyer said in a statement released Tuesday morning.
In a March interview, Skipper admitted to ESPN observer Jim Miller that he had been a longtime yet casual user of cocaine and said he decided to resign after a person who had sold him the drug threatened to extort him in December. Skipper added that he had been going through therapy and treatment since his departure from ESPN and had not used the drug “for a long period of time.”
Perform Group, which has nearly 3,000 employees in more than 30 countries, owns DAZN (pronounced “Da Zone”), an online service that offers live events from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA, soccer, tennis and other sports to subscribers in Canada, Germany, Austria, Japan and Switzerland. Skipper developed relationships with many of those leagues since becoming ESPN’s president in 2012.
The company also owns Goal.com, a soccer website, and data provider Opta Sports along with a 65 percent stake in the Sporting News.
“Simon and his team have built an enormously impressive company, providing an excellent base to establish a global leadership position in the over-the-top sports subscription business, the clear future of sports delivery,” Skipper said in the statement. “Perform Group’s platform and expertise, coupled with its success in launching subscription services in Germany, Japan and Canada provides a model we intend to replicate around the world.”
Former ESPN broadcaster Keith Olbermann noted the news about Skipper on Tuesday morning:
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