Whoever gets the job will be an important person for us as they’ll more than likely be negotiating with the AAC on the next TV contract.
WHO MIGHT FILL THE ROLE: Throughout its history, ESPN always has turned inwards to find its next president. While Skipper has had several internal candidates reporting to him, the front runner clearly appears to be Exec VP/Affiliate Sales & Marketing JUSTIN CONNOLLY. He was the exec who oversaw ESPN’s Altice affiliate deal that widely has been painted as a win for ESPN. Connolly is well regarded within the company and has had various positions, from launching SEC Network to running the affiliate department. Other Disney names that have been bandied about in the parlor game of guessing who ultimately would replace Skipper include Disney Senior Exec VP/Chief Strategy Officer KEVIN MAYER and Chair of Disney Consumer Products JIMMY PITARO. There is also a roster of former ESPN execs who could be contacted about taking over Skipper’s post, including F1 Commercial Chief SEAN BRATCHES, who competed with Skipper for the ESPN presidency back in ’11. Other former ESPNers who could be considered include NBC Sports Regional Networks President DAVID PRESCHLACK, CBS Sports President DAVID BERSON and WME-IMG co-President MARK SHAPIRO. If Disney looks to diversity for this pick, it could opt for women like Exec VP & CFO CHRISTINE DRIESSEN or Facebook COO SHERYL SANDBERG, who at one point had been rumored to be a potential replacement for Iger when he steps down at Disney.
IMPORTANT YEAR COMING UP: Next year is shaping up as an important one for ESPN, as it plans to launch its direct-to-consumer offering and roll out more mobile bells and whistles. By Iger’s statement, he hopes to have a new leader in Bristol by March.