SBD/December 11, 2012/People and Pop Culture

ESPN's John Skipper Tops SBJ's List Of Most Influential Execs In Sports Business

ESPN President JOHN SKIPPER tops SportsBusiness Journal's annual "50 Most Influential People In Sports Business" list. Skipper this year took over for GEORGE BODENHEIMER, and ESPN "hasn't skipped a beat." He has cut "huge rights deals" with the NFL, MLB, the BCS, the ACC and Big 12, and invested "more money in the content side of the business through the launch of Grantland, the hiring of two Pulitzer Prize winners and the expansion of '30 for 30.'" Below is the complete list of this year's honorees (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/10 issue).

MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN SPORTS BUSINESS
RANK
EXEC
1
ESPN President John Skipper
2
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
3
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig
4
NBA Commissioner David Stern
5
AEG Chair Phil Anschutz and AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke
6
Fox Sports co-Presidents & co-COOs Eric Shanks and Randy Freer
7
The Kraft Group Founder, Chairman & CEO Robert Kraft
8
Dodgers Chair and Guggenheim Partners Founder & CEO Mark Walter
9
CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus
10
Turner Broadcasting President of Sales, Distribution & Sports David Levy
11
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem
12
NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus
13
NASCAR CEO Brian France
14
IMG Chair & CEO Mike Dolan and
IMG Sports & Entertainment President George Pyne
15
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman
16
Nike Brand President Charlie Denson and Nike Inc. President Mark Parker
17
IOC President Jacques Rogge
18
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones
19
NHLPA Exec Dir Don Fehr
20
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver
21
F1 President & CEO Bernie Ecclestone
22
Time Warner Cable Exec VP and
Chief Video & Content Officer Melinda Witmer
23
Wasserman Media Group Chair & CEO Casey Wasserman
24
MLB Exec VP/Economics & League Affairs Rob Manfred and
MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan
25
NCAA President Mark Emmert
26
Lakers Owner Jerry Buss and Exec VP/Business Operations Jeannie Buss
27
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive
28
MLS Commissioner Don Garber
29
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany
30
A-B InBev CEO Carlos Brito and VP/Global Connections Maarten Albarda
31
CAA Sports co-Heads Michael Levine and Howard Nuchow
32
Under Armour CEO & Founder Kevin Plank
33
USOC Chair Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun
34
ESPN Exec VP/ Sales & Marketing Sean Bratches
35
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott
36
NFL Exec VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash
37
adidas Chair & CEO Herbert Hainer
38
MLB Giants President & CEO Larry Baer
39
Coca-Cola Senior VP/Marketing Alison Lewis and Senior VP/Sports & Marketing Partnerships Sharon Byers
40
Fenway Sports Group Owner John Henry
41
MillerCoors CMO Andy England and MillerCoors President & CCO Tom Long
42
NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith
43
Comcast-Spectacor Chair Ed Snider and President & COO Peter Luukko
44
MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman
45
StubHub CEO Chris Tsakalakis
46
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and Proskauer Partner Bob Batterman
47
Octagon President & CEO Rick Dudley
48
NFL Giants co-Owner, President & CEO John Mara
49
Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard
50
ATP World Tour Exec Chair & President Brad Drewett

HOW THE LIST CAME TOGETHER: SBD/SBJ Exec Editor Abraham Madkour writes about how the list is created: “As we have stated, this isn’t a list of the most powerful executives or those who had the most productive or successful years. Instead, it’s a ranking of the decision-makers who change the way sports is valued, consumed, presented and produced. … As you’ll see, influence doesn’t always yield a feel-good result or story, and some may view certain individuals as being a detriment to the overall success of sports. But the names here represent, from our point of view, the people who are driving sports at this moment in time. The list inevitably leads to head-scratching, disagreements, sometimes angry phone calls and more than its share of Monday morning quarterbacking.” Madkour lists “some of the names and rankings that may surprise you” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/10 issue).
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