Despite all the great things that John Skipper did as president of ESPN from 2012-2017, it is normal for people to have regrets or wonder what could have happened if certain decisions were made.
On Part 3 of South Beach Sessions on Le Batard and Friends, Dan Le Batard and Skipper examined some of those possible regrets as part of what is now a 4-part series.
The first event that Skipper mentioned that he regretted was losing the rights to the World Cup. ESPN had the rights to the World Cup in 2010 and 2014, but eventually FOX won the rights to soccer’s premiere event from 2018-2026. Here is what Skipper had to say about that process:
“I regret losing the World Cup. One of my proudest accomplishments was getting the World Cup for 2010 and 2014 just three weeks into my job as chief content officer. I did see that the World Cup was going to become a huge event in the United States. To me, it is the world’s greatest sporting event. I wanted to give it its due on the air on ESPN, which we did. We lost it and it is now on FOX.”
Skipper also addressed the corruption that was going on at FIFA and how he thought the bidding process was not fair.
“I used to say about Sepp Blatter that the fact that his first name is short for septic and his second name is a receptacle for urine should tell you all you need to know about him and how he runs FIFA.
“FIFA was a dramatically corrupt organization. Indeed, people had been indicted for what had gone on in that process. I don’t think it was a fair bidding process for the 2018-2026 rights. I do not believe we lost in a fair manner. However, I still regret not figuring out how to overcome that. If somebody had said to me if you bribe this person, you would have got it. I would have said no.”
Skipper also mentioned that he regretted losing out on the rights to the NHL while acknowledging that NBC has been a good place for the NHL. He later went in-depth on that possible negotiation towards the end of the podcast:
“I’ve mentioned before, but another real disappointment was I was working with John Collins (NHL’s chief operating officer at the time) on the NHL deal and I thought we were quite close, we made a very aggressive bid. I expected to hear back from John that we could get there if you can sweeten this a little bit. John called me and said we decided to renew with NBC. It still stings a little bit. I was a pretty relentless negotiator and that was one where I thought I worked hard, I did the right thing, and it just didn’t happen. It was the right decision for them, but disappointing for me.”
Throughout Part 3, you will hear how Skipper became the president at ESPN in part to an answer he gave on an annual review, how he negotiated the NBA deal and the College Football playoff deal, and why the idea of ESPN The Phone just did not work.
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at [email protected].
SEC Commissioner Tells Pat McAfee Someone at ESPN Leaked 2024 Schedule Without Permission
“We were trying to protect it. Someone at ESPN apparently leaked it.”
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey isn’t particularly thrilled that his new top broadcast partner leaked a portion of next year’s schedule a bit early.
During an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, which just so happens to be an ESPN property, Sankey mentioned his displeasure at the Worldwide Leader for leaking a portion of the 2024 SEC schedule early. According to Sankey, the league and the network agreed to release the schedule together in the near future.
“We were trying to protect it,” Sankey said. “Someone at ESPN apparently leaked it,” according to Yahoo Sports college football reporter Ross Dellenger.
While leaks in the media space are hardly a new phenomenon, especially when it comes to something as desirable as a football conference’s yearly schedule, a leak this early in the newly-formed ESPN-SEC relationship is less than ideal. Starting next season, ESPN will take over as the SEC’s primary broadcast partner, assuming the position CBS had long held for decades.
In the leaked portion of the schedule, the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide will play in the regular season for just the third time in the past 15 years. We also know the Bulldogs will play the debuting Texas Longhorns in Texas, while the Tide will play the other Oklahoma Sooners on the road.
Jeff Kotuby is a nationally-published journalist with bylines on many popular broadcasting and pop culture sites, including The Streamable, eBaum’s World, Twin Galaxies, and more. Jeff grew up in the shadows of New York City and cultivated his love for sports media with the classic broadcasting voices of the area, like Mike & The Mad Dog, Mike “Doc” Emerick, and Michael Kay. You can reach Jeff on Twitter @JeffKotu3y.
Jim Boeheim Making Analyst Debut on ACC Network, Joining The CW
Former Syracuse Orange basketball head coach Jim Boeheim will make his debut as an analyst on Saturday, Dec. 2 on the ACC Network. Boeheim will be on the broadcast for the matchup between Florida State and North Carolina at 2 PM ET featuring play-by-play announcer Wes Durham and sideline reporter Cory Alexander.
Boeheim will make his studio debut on Tuesday, Dec. 5 during halftime of the men’s prime-time doubleheader games on the day – which consists of Central Connecticut against Boston College at 6 PM ET, followed by Cornell taking on Syracuse at 8 PM ET.
On the program, he will be joined by host Kelsey Riggs and analyst Luke Hancock, and he will also remain on the air for the 10 p.m. edition of Nothing But Net, the network’s signature basketball show.
Additionally, Jim Boeheim also joined Westwood One and is reportedly set to work on The CW coverage of ACC basketball, debuting this Saturday with pre-taped segments during halftime of two conference games. News of Boeheim working with The CW was first reported by Mike Waters of Syracuse.com.
Boeheim departed Syracuse University after 47 seasons as a coach and holding an overall win-loss record of 1,015-441. He has the second-most wins at the Division I level in the history of college basketball, only being surpassed by former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Dan Le Batard: I Thought Pat McAfee Would Grow College GameDay, But That Hasn’t Happened
Le Batard said McAfee is playing under a different set of rules than others at ESPN.
Pat McAfee has checked all the boxes Disney and ESPN leadership had when the former NFL punter brought his daily sports talk show into the fray, but one area where it seems like the waters aren’t so smooth for McAfee is in his reception as an analyst on College GameDay.
GameDay viewers have not shied away from making their feelings known that they don’t like seeing McAfee on the show, and Dan Le Batard has found the criticism quite interesting.
On The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Thursday, Le Batard said he thought having Pat McAfee on GameDay would continue taking the show to the next level, but it turns out he was wrong in some respects.
“And so they get McAfee and they give him a new set of rules,” Le Batard said. “But I thought that would result in College GameDay getting bigger and better. More popular. I underestimated the allegiance that the viewer has to David Pollack.”
“I’m reading him and everyone around him saying he’s a good teammate, they all love him, they’re all getting along with him,” Le Batard added. “He is effusive, he is such a positive person. He is effusive in his praise for the people on that sat. But now the numbers are coming back, and this is something that McAfee couldn’t have expected.”
Executive producer Mike Ruiz chimed in saying that a contributing factor in the changing conditions at GameDay is due to the mass layoffs and non-renewals of more expensive talent over the last couple years. He said there was going to be a natural need to switch things up after cutting ties with the likes of Pollack, Tom Rinaldi, and Chris “The Bear” Fallica.
“The format of the show when you take someone like that, you’re changing it,” Ruiz said. “You’re changing the emotional stories that made you cry in advance of a Purdue/Ohio State game. All that stuff starts going away. And now it’s not just going away, some of that stuff is going to FOX.”
Dan Le Batard responded saying he wasn’t trying to blame Pat McAfee for Big Noon Kickoff closing the gap on GameDay and negative fan feedback. But all of a sudden now that FOX can tout its pregame show continuing to grow and be a successful alternative to ESPN’s product, the narrative shifts.
“I always say perception is not reality, but when all you have is perception and fudged numbers, FOX is saying, ‘We’ve caught College GameDay. We’ve caught one of the most popular shows in the history of sports television,'” Le Batard said.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.