Sports | January 13, 2021 11:08 am

Ex-ESPNers John Skipper, Dan Le Batard Teaming on Left-Leaning Sports Media Venture

The progressive venture is thought to be the strategic opposite of Clay Travis’s Outkick

Ex-ESPNers John Skipper, Dan Le Batard Teaming on Left-Leaning Sports Media Venture
John Skipper speaks at "The New Age of Sports: Streaming, Global Audiences and Big Business" panel in 2019.
Getty Images for Fast Company

Former ESPN president John Skipper and recently departed on-air personality Dan Le Batard are teaming up on a politically progressive sports media company, sources told Front Office Sports.

Described as the strategic opposite of Clay Travis’s Outkick, which just lost former FS1 host Jason Whitlock, the new venture will create original content for TV, radio and streaming as well as produce films and documentaries. Theoretically, if the venture is the direct opposite of Outkick, it will also include a website and e-newsletter.

Skipper and Le Batard are looking to hire both on- and off-camera talent for their unnamed venture and their target list includes former ESPN colleagues Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones and Kate Fagan.

Hill, who now writes for The Atlantic, confirmed she has been approached about the project but has yet to work out an agreement to come aboard. Even if she doesnt, Hill expects the new venture to be a success, according to FOS.

“John and Dan could fill a huge hole in the marketplace in terms of more content. Yes, of course, ESPN has a lot of it. But as streaming continues to grow and develop, this is still an untouched area for them,” she said. “So there’s a lot of opportunity out there.”

Travis, in his own way, also offered his support for Skipper and Le Batard.

“If Dan Le Batard and his merry band of cronies want to step in and start having a knife fight, if he thinks there’s a huge marketplace for a further left-wing version of ESPN … more power to him,” he said. “This will just make Outkick even more successful because it pushes the rest of the sports media industry even farther left. It’s a woke knife fight to see who is the purest.”

The shot at Le Batard makes sense. In the wake of embarrassment at the Capitol on January 6, Travis tweeted that he voted for President Trump, a regular guest on his podcast,  but that “violence is never the answer.”

The following day, Le Batard called Travis out on his “Local Hour” podcast. “This is what was wrought,” Le Batard said last Thursday. “This is what was going to get here because of everything you saw happening over the last 12 months to us and elsewhere because I’ve got something for that shitstain Clay Travis, who wants to sit it out now when he was having Trump on his infomercial podcast, Dixie Vodka cheap shit, just getting Trump to foment this base and then walks away and says, ‘Hey I never said anything about violence. Nah man, nah, you guys did in all your code. I worried about the subtle guys who could do the Trump shit cause if you were willing to follow that Frankenstein shitbag to where you followed him? That’s what you get yesterday.”

Skipper, the executive chairman of sports streaming company DAZN, was the president of ESPN from 2012-2017. He resigned due to an extortion attempt related to his cocaine usage while running the company. Disney executive Jimmy Pitaro replaced Skipper as the head of ESPN.

With Joe Biden’s inauguration just a week away and the Democratic party in control of Congress, the timing for Skipper and Le Batard couldn’t be better. Best of luck.

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