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John Skipper

ESPN Executive Vice President John Skipper Joins Team to Bring FIFA World Cup to U.S. in 2018 or 2022


NEW YORK (December 1, 2009) – John Skipper, Executive Vice President for Content with ESPN, has formally accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors for the USA Bid Committee in its quest to bring the FIFA World Cup™ to the United States in 2018 or 2022.

Skipper is responsible for the creation, programming and production of ESPN and ABC Sports content across all media platforms, including television, radio, Internet, broadband, wireless, publishing, interactive games and home entertainment.

“As a broadcast partner of the U.S. Soccer Federation, Major League Soccer and the FIFA World Cup™, ESPN is playing an invaluable role in the continued growth in popularity of soccer not just in the United States, but worldwide,” said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. “John Skipper has helped lead that growth at ESPN for more than a decade and his expertise across the company’s array of platforms will greatly serve our ability to communicate the attributes of our bid throughout the rest of the bidding process.”

ESPN and its family of networks are the official English-language broadcast rights-holder in the United States for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa. Beginning with the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ final draw in Cape Town on Dec. 4, the ESPN will feature comprehensive coverage of FIFA World Cup™ on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, including extensive news and information programming across an array of its multimedia assets.

“We at ESPN are pleased to be a part of the burgeoning interest in soccer in the U.S.,” said Skipper. “There would be no more fitting cap to that growth than to return the sport's biggest event, the FIFA World Cup, to the USA.”

Prior to assuming his current position in October 2005, Skipper had been executive vice president of advertising sales and ESPN Enterprises since August 2004. ESPN Enterprises, which he continues to oversee, comprises ESPN Digital Media, ESPN Mobile Properties, with business units that include ESPN.com, ESPN360.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Books and ESPN RISE, multiplatform high-school content and events.

Skipper served as senior vice president and general manager of ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine from December 2001 to September 2002. Prior to joining ESPN.com as senior vice president and general manager in January 2000, Skipper held the same title at ESPN The Magazine since June 1997, where he oversaw one of the most successful magazine launches of the 1990s.

Before joining ESPN The Magazine, Skipper served two years as senior vice president of The Disney Publishing Group where he was in charge of all Disney's magazine, book and licensed publishing operations in the United States. Since 1990, Skipper was vice president of Disney Magazine publishing, overseeing Disney Adventures, Discover, FamilyFun and Family PC.

Prior to joining The Disney Publishing Group, Skipper held the title of president and publishing director at 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.

Skipper earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English Literature from the University of North Carolina and Columbia University, respectively.

The United States, Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan and Russia have formally declared their desire to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain have each submitted joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, while Qatar and South Korea have applied as candidates to play host only to the tournament in 2022.

All candidates must have their bid applications to FIFA by May 14, 2010.  FIFA’s 24‑member Executive Committee will study the bids, conduct site visits and name the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.

Skipper joins the Board of Directors of the USA Bid Committee that recently welcomed Washington Post CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth, Walt Disney Company President and CEO Robert Iger, comedian and Seattle Sounders FC part-owner Drew Carey, MLS founding investor Philip Anschutz, Univision CEO Joe Uva, New England Revolution and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, U.S. Soccer Foundation President Ed Foster-Simeon, University of Miami President Donna Shalala, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. National Team icons Landon Donovan and Mia Hamm, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. In the months ahead, the USA Bid Committee will add additional national leaders from the sectors of sports, entertainment, government and business.

The USA Bid Committee’s efforts has earned the full support of President Barack Obama, who back in April reached out to FIFA – the world's governing body of soccer – to endorse the efforts to bring the world’s largest sporting event back to the United States.  In that letter to FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, President Obama noted the role soccer played in his life as a youth, and its ability to unite people, communities and nations from every continent.

On Monday, July 27, Obama and Blatter met at the White House to discuss the U.S. bid and other soccer-related topics. The meeting was marked by Blatter confirming his invitation for President Obama to be his guest at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. President Obama has expressed his interest in attending the event pending availability on his schedule.

The United States Men’s National Team recently secured its place among the field of 32 for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa by capturing the top spot in the final round standings in CONCACAF. The U.S. will be competing in their sixth consecutive FIFA World Cup, making them one of just seven nations that have participated in all six World Cups since 1990. The U.S. Men’s National Team will have its group and match orders revealed at the FIFA World Cup Draw on Dec. 4 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The USA Bid Committee recently released a study conducted by an independent consulting firm that estimates a conservative domestic economic impact of five billion dollars if the United States is chosen to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. The findings of the study indicate that the total economic impact projected for any one host city ranges from approximately $400 million to $600 million at today’s dollar value. The analysis also estimates that between 65,000 and 100,000 total new jobs would be created in the various host cities during the preparation and operation of the tournament in the year of the event. The study was undertaken by the Economics practice at AECOM, formerly Economics Research Associates (ERA), the world’s leading international sports and entertainment attraction consulting firm.   

ABOUT U.S. SOCCER:
Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer has helped chart the course for soccer in the USA for more than 95 years as the governing body of the sport. In this time, the Federation’s mission statement has been simple and clear: to make soccer, in all its forms, a pre-eminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the sport’s growth in the past two decades has been nothing short of remarkable as U.S. Soccer’s National Teams have continually succeeded on the world stage while also growing the game here in the United States with the support of its members. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.

ABOUT THE USA BID COMMITTEE INC.:
The USA Bid Committee is a non-profit organization created to prepare a successful application to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022 on behalf of the United States Soccer Federation.  The Bid Committee will submit its comprehensive bid to FIFA by May 2010, with FIFA’s 24‑member Executive Committee making a decision in December 2010. Members of the USA Bid Committee in alphabetical order include Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy owner Philip Anschutz, comedian and Seattle Sounders FC part-owner Drew Carey, former Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman (Asia) Carlos Cordeiro, U.S. Men’s National Team player Landon Donovan, Executive Director David Downs, U.S. Soccer CEO and General Secretary Dan Flynn, U.S. Soccer Foundation President Ed Foster-Simeon, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, U.S. Soccer President and USA Bid Committee Chairman Sunil Gulati, U.S. Women’s National Team former player Mia Hamm, Walt Disney Company President and CEO Robert Iger, former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, New England Revolution and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, University of Miami President Donna Shalala, ESPN.com General Manager John Skipper, Univision CEO Joe Uva and Washington Post CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth. For more information, visit goUSAbid.com.

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