SBD/August 12, 2013/Media

ESPN's Skipper Says Nate Silver Will Appear On Various Platforms When He Joins Net

ESPN President John Skipper discussed the net's recent hiring of Nate Silver on CNN's "Reliable Sources" yesterday, noting Silver will officially begin on Sept. 1. Skipper said it will take a few months to get Silver's FiveThirtyEight.com "retooled and repositioned and re-launched, but you’ll begin to see Nate Silver across some of the platforms of ESPN.” Silver "brings a unique mind to this," and he "really is at the forefront of the analytics movement." Skipper: "We’ll look to use him where he can make a difference, help us understand big events better." He noted it was "helpful" that ESPN had already launched Grantland and allowed site creator Bill Simmons "the freedom to do the kind of site that he’s doing." Skipper: "When we went to Nate and said, ‘We’re going to let you range across things other than sports. We’re going to give you support and freedom to have opinions and to look at things,’ it gave us a real credibility.” He added, "We like having a Bill Simmons and Grantland, we like have Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight.com. If you or anybody else can point me in the direction of other singular talents around whom we can create businesses and opportunities, we’re ready for a go.” Skipper noted Silver likely will appear on Keith Olbermann's new ESPN2 show that debuts Aug. 26, but final decisions have yet to be made. Skipper: "Given the fact that the show is smart and that we are looking for smart guests and points of view, I suspect you’ll see Nate Silver on Keith Olbermann. I’m not prepared to say when yet.” He said ESPN has long "looked for smart talent and unique points of view," noting that David Halberstam, Ralph Wiley and Hunter S. Thompson were all featured on ESPN.com's Page 2 in '00 ("Reliable Sources," CNN, 8/11).
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