Sports media juggernaut ESPN held its upfront presentation in New York City this morning. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and Soccer star Landon Donovan joined executives in the Best Buy Theater to pitch advertisers on spending big bucks with the Disney-owned company.
ESPN president John Skipper opened up the show by talking about “the elephant in the room” as the elephant mascot for the University of Alabama walked behind him.
“Several broadcast companies have decided–in the early 2010s–that there might be something to this whole national sports network thing,” Skipper quipped, referencing the NBC Sports Network, CBS Sports Network and the upcoming Fox Sports 1. After the event, Skipper told a group of reporters that while he embraces the competition, he thinks ESPN is still in driver’s seat.
“They are going to be in the business, we don’t expect this to be over and done, but what we do expect is to compete vigorously,” Skipper said. “What Fox does have is more live rights. Fox has more to start with, but again, in any comparison between our collection of assets and their collection of assets, we have a significantly broader, and better, portfolio.”