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Perform Group hires ex-ESPN boss Skipper as executive chairman

Global sports media outfit Perform Group, which operates the DAZN sports OTT TV service, has named former ESPN president John Skipper as its executive chairman.

Skipper, based in New York, will oversee all of Perform Group’s operations and strategy and report to the Board. Simon Denyer, Perform Group’s Founder, will continue as CEO based in London.

Perform is majority-owned by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries. Commenting on the appointment of Skipper, Blavatnik said that Perform was “one of the most important brands in the sports media industry and a key holding in the Access portfolio”.

Skipper resigned from ESPN in December, citing “substance addiction” as a reason for his surprise departure. He later told the Hollywood Reporter that a cocaine dealer had attempted to extort him. He was replaced on an interim basis by ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer.

“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,” said Skipper

“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 revolutionising how fans watch their favourite 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,” said Denyer.