“We have found that what sports fans really care about, and why they come to ESPN properties is to watch live games,” said Skipper, the company’s vp of content. ESPN’s Sept. 16 Monday Night Football telecast drew 18.6 million viewers, the largest cable audience ever.
Skipper said he will continue to pursue deals for more major college games, and will look to get additional rights to major professional tennis and golf events when they become available. Reclaiming the National Hockey League is also on his to-do list. The NHL is slated to run on Versus through the 2010-2011 season.