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“We have all these people growing up and deciding they don’t need to spend the money.The tide is going out on the whole sector.” [Why all that ESPN talent is headed out the door.] The problem may be more pronounced for ESPN, which has made more money off subscription rates than any other network.Wenner at times would call his office, leave messages and never hear back.“He pissed Jann off, and Jann made me fire him,” Brownridge said.“He always has a book with him,” says NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
He proved to be a personable boss but didn’t always manage up very well, Brownridge says.
He quickly planted a seed with ESPN bosses that they needed a respectable magazine of their own, and in 1997 Skipper became senior vice president in charge of ESPN The Magazine, where he borrowed heavily from his Rolling Stone days, adopting a bi-weekly model, an oversized product and edgy design and feel.
His responsibilities at ESPN grew rapidly, and since becoming head of content in 2005, Skipper has played a huge role in growing ESPN into what it is today — as a brand, a TV network and a media behemoth with tentacles that stretch into every corner of the sports world.
Its prolific daily output matches his interests and ambitions, from ramped up soccer coverage, heavy investments in television rights for professional and college sports, and an emphasis on digital journalism and longform storytelling.
He had an early hand in building ESPN.com, helped start ESPN The Magazine and green-lit the now-shuttered Grantland site and acclaimed “30 for 30” documentary series.
ESPN has always been a reliable, enviable earner in the Walt Disney universe.