John Skipper

Title: President, ESPN and co-chair, Disney Media Networks

Years in Cable: 6

Education: BA, Literature, UNC: MA, Literature, Columbia

Why Him? Fast-rising Skipper has certainly earned his brand-new title. He’s been a key player in ESPN’s continuing domination in sports programming across platforms. In July, Skipper championed a coup for the network, adding to its portfolio of 30 major conferences, leagues, commissions and associations—and its 2010 score of the BCS Championship Game—by swiping NBC’s 43-year run of Wimbledon tennis championships coverage. The 12-year agreement beginning next year gives ESPN U.S. TV rights to all matches.

Touchdown! ESPN cleared the goalpost in September with a mammoth deal to renew its contract for “Monday Night Football”—the highest-rated show on cable—through 2021. Skipper brokered the $15.2 billion coup, which allows ESPN to maintain more NFL content than any other cabler except NFL Network, with an additional 500 hours of league-branded content and streaming to Verizon cells and tablets via its WatchESPN app.

Year Ahead: Game on! ?

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