|Wednesday, January 19
Skipper, Walsh take helm of ESPN Internet Group
New York-(January 19, 2000)-Sports media luminaries John Skipper and John A. Walsh will take leadership roles at ESPN Internet Group (EIG), it was announced today by Steven M. Bornstein, chairman, GO.com (NYSE:GO) and George W. Bodenheimer, president, ESPN, Inc. Skipper will be the senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Internet Group. Walsh will be senior vice president and executive editor of ESPN Internet Group while continuing to have editorial responsibilities at ESPN as senior vice president and executive editor of ESPN, Inc. Steve Zales, currently the senior vice president and general manager of EIG, will take on a new role as senior vice president, strategic development, for GO.com. ESPN Internet Group is the worldwide leader in online sports, with more users than its nearest two competitors combined.
"I had the pleasure of working with both John Skipper and John Walsh during my tenure as CEO of ESPN," said Bornstein. "They know how to spark the interest of sports fans in any medium, and I am thrilled at the prospect of having this outstanding team contribute their talents to furthering the enormous success of ESPN.com."
Added Bodenheimer, "John Skipper and John Walsh have proven talent in extending the ESPN sports experience. Their guidance will deliver greater integration and creative applications of ESPN.com across all our entities and will ensure our brand's leadership in this dynamic frontier."
In his new role, Skipper will be responsible for all aspects of content development and programming, design, production and marketing for a suite of Web sites including ESPN.com, NFL.com, NBA.com, NASCAR Online, WNBA.com, ABCSports.com and Soccernet. He will oversee staffs in New York, Bristol, Connecticut, and Seattle and will report jointly to Dick Glover, executive vice president, Internet media for GO.com and ABC, Inc., and Bodenheimer.
Most recently, Skipper was the senior vice president and general manager of ESPN The Magazine, where he effectively targeted the critical 18-34 year old readership and oversaw the most successful magazine launch of the 1990s. During its inaugural year, the magazine earned more than 20 awards including "Best New Magazine" honors from both Advertising Age and AdWeek magazines, as well as a 1999 National Magazine Award for design.
Before launching ESPN The Magazine, Skipper served for two years as senior vice president of The Disney Publishing Group where he was in charge of all of Disney's magazine, book and licensed publishing operations in the United States. Prior to joining the Disney Publishing Group, he was president and publishing director of SPIN magazine. Earlier, he spent 10 years with Straight Arrow Publishing including eight years with Rolling Stone. At Straight Arrow, he rose to publisher of US magazine.
John Walsh, who will remain in his role as executive editor of ESPN, Inc., will add ESPN.com and the other EIG properties to his current responsibilities. Going forward, he will oversee all creative development and editorial direction for ESPN.com, NFL.com, NBA.com, NASCAR Online, WNBA.com, ABCSports.com and Soccernet. Like Skipper, Walsh will report jointly to Glover and Bodenheimer, and will work closely with Geoff Reiss, senior vice president, programming and production, for ESPN Internet Group.
Walsh has served as executive editor of ESPN, Inc. since 1990, and most recently worked with Skipper to launch ESPN The Magazine. During his tenure at ESPN, he has been involved in the creative development of a variety of projects, spanning from SportsCenter to The ESPY's to SportsCentury, the most ambitious multi-media review of the 20th century. He also was instrumental in launching the ESPN Radio Network, now the largest sports radio network in the U.S., and in the development of ESPN2 and ESPNEWS. Under Walsh, ESPN's news and information programming has won 14 CableACE Awards and 22 Sports Emmy Awards, including six for the network's Outside the Lines series that examines sports issues off the playing field.
Walsh brings extensive broadcast and print experience in both sports and news. He was the founding editor of the original Inside Sports magazine, and has served as managing editor of U.S. News and World Report and Rolling Stone. He held a number of editorial positions at Newsday, including sports editor; worked as sports editor of the Columbia Missourian; and was an editor at the Washington Post style section. He has edited or overseen three sports books, including "The Heisman: A Symbol of Excellence," published in 1984, and "SportsCentury," which recently reached number six on the New York Times best seller list. In addition, he has served as a consultant for several publications, including Esquire, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times Sunday sports "Part Two" magazine. His television experience includes consultancies to CBS Sports' NFL Today program and with a PBS documentary on the 1976 Super Bowl.
Steve Zales, currently senior vice president and general manager of EIG, will take on a new role as senior vice president, strategic development, for GO.com, reporting to GO.com President Steve Wadsworth and Glover. Steve will be responsible for developing growth strategies for ESPN.com, ABC.com, ABCNEWS.com and the other ABC online properties.
"Steve has an excellent track record as an entrepreneur and business leader, and has led EIG to new levels of success. I look forward to working with Steve in this new role, as GO.com continues to expand its leadership position throughout all of its services," said Wadsworth.
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