SBD/Issue 151/Sports Industrialists

ESPN Senior VP Lynne Frank Leaving Company For Personal Reasons

Frank Leaving ESPN
For Personal Reasons

ESPN Senior VP & Managing Dir of Europe, Middle East & Africa LYNNE FRANK, who "masterminded the high profile entry" of ESPN into the U.K. market, is set to "quit the broadcaster for personal reasons," according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. Frank reportedly "plans to return to her native California for family reasons, with a successor due to be appointed by September." She "will stay on to oversee the transition." Frank "oversaw the grab for Setanta's Premier League rights when the Irish broadcaster plunged into administration in June last year." Prior to the launch of ESPN's dedicated U.K. channel, Frank "oversaw the launch of archive channel ESPN Classic, the acquisition of NASN and the rapid expansion of its online arm including the purchase of Soccernet, Cricinfo and Scrum.com." Frank previously worked for Turner Broadcasting Systems, "building its portfolio of European channels." ESPN Int'l Exec VP & Managing Dir RUSSELL WOLFF "will lead the search for her successor." Meanwhile, Gibson notes the U.K. operation is "one of ESPN's highest global priorities and faces a crucial period as it attempts to retain subscribers despite losing half of its live Premier League matches from the start of the new season in August." It is "generally believed that ESPN has made a slick, unobtrusive entry into the U.K. market, although the company continues to refuse to divulge its subscriber figures." Longer term, industry speculation "will focus on whether or not the U.S. giant will go head to head with Sky to become the leading sports broadcaster in the U.K." (GUARDIAN, 4/20).

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