Behind The ScenesESPN

Disney CEO Bob Iger talks about ESPN’s future at World Congress of Sports

Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, during the Sports Business Journal's World Congress of Sports event. (Tony Florez)
Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, during the Sports Business Journal’s World Congress of Sports event. (Tony Florez)

LOS ANGELES – The Walt Disney Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bob Iger, today shared his vision for ESPN and discussed the importance of brand building and technology to a standing room only crowd at the Sports Business Journal’s World Congress of Sports at the JW Marriott.

ESPN President John Skipper with Sports Business Journal media reporter John Ourand at the conference. (Mike Soltys/ESPN)
ESPN President John Skipper (l) with Sports Business Journal media reporter John Ourand. (Mike Soltys/ESPN)

Iger has been connected to sports television for 40 years. Session moderator and SBJ Executive Editor Abe Madkour asked Iger to cover a variety of topics, from his early memories of ABC Sports’ Olympic coverage through his thoughts on the future of ESPN, which is one of Disney’s major brands. Iger also spoke about the rapid changes in technology and the opportunity for ESPN.

“We are living in an era of incredible disruption…The consumer has a lot more power now to decide what they watch, when they watch, on what device they watch it on and how much they pay for it,” Iger said.

“What I like about [the changing technology in sports] the most is that it is expanding consumption…Today you can watch it all the time on basically any mobile device or computer.”

Iger continued: “…ESPN in 2014 had 82 billion minutes of consumption on its digital platforms…The ability to do that did not exist five years ago. When you think about ESPN growing, one way to grow is through expanding consumption.

“One of the reasons ESPN has been so aggressive and innovative on being on those new platforms and continuing to innovate with new product and new ways of reaching people is because they believe in the expansion capabilities of those platforms. . .You have broadening of consumption and deepening of engagement. That is another way to grow the business.”

(L-R) Sports Business Journal Publisher Richard Weiss, ESPN President John Skipper, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger, event moderator and SBJ Executive Editor Abe Madkour and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at the conference. (Mike Soltys/ESPN)
(L-R) Sports Business Journal publisher Richard Weiss, ESPN President John Skipper, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger, event moderator and SBJ executive editor Abe Madkour and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at the conference.
(Photo courtesy of Sports Business Journal)
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