Former ESPN President John Skipper Joins Len Blavatnik’s Perform Group As Exec Chairman

Former ESPN President John Skipper, who left the Disney-owned sports broadcaster last year as a result of issues with drugs, has joined UK sports media firm Perform Group.

Based in New York and reporting to the company’s board, Skipper becomes Executive Chairman of the company and will help bolster its global expansion. Perform Group, which is backed by billionaire Len Blavatnik, operates a number of digital sports brands across the world as well as data business Opta.

His appointment comes after Skipper revealed in December that he was stepping down because of “substance abuse” problems. However, he told ESPN author James Andrew Miller in March that it was in fact because of a blackmail plot from his cocaine dealer.

Skipper said, “Simon and his team have built an enormously impressive company, providing an excellent base to establish a global leadership position in the over-the-top sports subscription business, the clear future of sports delivery. Perform Group’s platform and expertise, coupled with its success in launching subscription services in Germany, Japan and Canada provides a model we intend to replicate around the world.”

Perform CEO Simon Denyer added, “Perform is rapidly expanding its role in sports media with significant investments in the best content and our own platform. We are now preparing to push forward with the expansion of DAZN, our live and on-demand streaming service, in more major markets around the world. DAZN is revolutionizing how fans watch their favorite sports. John is one of the most significant leaders in the history of our industry, and I am delighted that he has agreed to join me and the team to help take Perform to the next level of our ambitions.”

“Since our initial investment ten years ago, Perform has become one of the most important brands in the sports media industry and a key holding in the Access portfolio,” said Blavatnik. “John’s addition to the team and Board will help the company continue its impressive progress.”

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