Apple TV + signs landmark deal with former ESPN president and network contributor
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Apple TV + is looking to complement a nascent roster of sports-focused documentary content with a top-tier deal involving former ESPN associates John Skipper and Dan Le Batard.
Skipper, who led ESPN as chairman from 2012 to 2017, partnered with contributor Le Batard to form content creation company Meadowlark Media in January. Apple recently signed a deal with Meadowlark that will see the production of documentaries and unscripted series for Apple TV +, reports Deadline.
According to the report, Meadowlark plans to collaborate with storytellers on various projects, but initial content offerings will focus on sports. The strategy is not surprising given the industrial pedigree of Skipper and Le Batard.
Skipper worked at ESPN for 27 years before leaving the company after a six-year term as chairman in 2017. Le Batard was a regular contributor who appeared on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” “The Sports Reporters “and” College GameDay, “and was the guest host of” Pardon the Interruption “before leaving the network in January, according to the report. Skipper and Le Batard worked together on ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz”.
One of the first and only sports titles to land on Apple TV + was the short documentary series “Greatness Code”, which delves into the defining moments in the careers of professional athletes. Last week, Apple TV + released “Swagger,” a fictional tale of youth basketball in America loosely based on the experiences of NBA star Kevin Durant.
Apple tracked down Amazon’s head of sports content, James DeLorenzo, for a similar role at Apple TV + last year, reigniting rumors that Cupertino was exploring an entry into live sport. Nothing concrete has come from those rumbles, although Apple is reportedly in talks to buy the rights to broadcast NFL games as part of the league’s Sunday Ticket. The marquee contract has been a DirecTV exclusive for eight years.