John Skipper Named ESPN President, George Bodenheimer To Become Chairman

By | Tuesday November 22, 2011 @ 8:11am PST
Nellie Andreeva

George Bodenheimer, President of ESPN and ABC Sports and Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks, will relinquish his day-to-day operating responsibilities on January 1. ESPN’s EVP content John Skipper has been anointed as his successor and will become … Read More »

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Pay TV Companies Say ESPN Fumbled With Its $15B NFL Deal

ESPN is already starting to face a major backlash from pay TV providers and some Wall Street analysts to yesterday’s $15B deal extending its rights to Monday Night Football for eight years to 2021. The … Read More »

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UPDATE: ESPN Leaves Open Possibility Of Price-Hike Battles Following $15B ‘Monday Night Football’ Renewal

UPDATE, 9:10 AM: There will be “no NFL surcharge” on cable and satellite companies as a result of the  Monday Night Football renewal deal, ESPN chief George Bodenheimer said in a conference call today. But he didn’t rule out the possibility that ESPN will cite the NFL agreement to seek higher payments for its channels when the company renews its contracts with cable and satellite companies. “The fee that we ask of our affiliates is based on the overall value of the ESPN service,” he said, adding that “this agreement enhances our value to our affiliates.” Bodenheimer hasn’t spoken to operators yet about the new terms but wishfully predicts that “this will be received very well by our distributors.” Research firm SNL Kagan says that pay TV companies typically pay $4.34 per month for every subscriber who receives ESPN and ESPN HD, $2.55 for ESPN 3D, and 58 cents for ESPN 2.

Credit Suisse analyst Spencer Wang says that the new deal will increase ESPN’s football-related programming costs by about 6% a year — a slower pace than the previous contract. But the company’s pay TV deals grow about 4% a year.

Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says that he’s open to bringing playoff games to ESPN. But he adds that contracts with other broadcasters run through 2013, and he’s now negotiating renewal terms.

PREVIOUS, 6:53 AM: The new agreement will cost ESPN 73% more than its previous NFL deal, The New York Times says. That likely means the Disney-owned sports channel will ask cable and satellite companies to pay more — which could lead to some big fights: ESPN is already the most expensive basic cable service, and operators resent the roughly $4 per subscriber per month they have to shell out for what’s considered must-have programming. ESPN’s new NFL deal includes additional football-related shows and updates including streaming to Verizon phones. Some terms kick off immediately: Today, ESPN’s NFL Live expands to an hour from a half hour. A discussion show based on fan-submitted questions, Audibles, also joins the Thursday night lineup. This weekend, Sunday NFL Countdown will run three hours, up from two. On Tuesday, ESPN2 will introduce a weekly, hour-long show NFL 32, followed on Friday by another weekly hour-long show NFL Kickoff. Here’s the official release:

Monday Night Football, the most successful series in sports media history, will remain on ESPN through the 2021 NFL season under a new eight-year agreement between ESPN and the National Football League, it was announced today by ESPN and ABC SportsPresident George Bodenheimer and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The broad multiplatform agreement, which begins in 2014, includes eight full seasons of MNF telecasts, expanded NFL studio programming (beginning this week), highlight rights for TV andESPN.com, the Pro Bowl, the NFL Draft, 3D rights, and enhanced international rights.

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