ESPN chief John Skipper gets contract extension

(Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN)

ESPN President John Skipper will be sticking around the sports network.

Skipper’s new contract with ESPN’s parent company, Disney, will be extended through 2021, according to a source familiar with the deal.

It was first reported by The Big Lead.

Skipper joined ESPN as president in 2012. The contract renewal is a vote of confidence in Skipper during a turbulent time.

ESPN has experienced a series of hardships, ranging from declining subscriber numbers and ad revenue to layoffs.

The drop in subscribers was worrisome because ESPN has several expensive long-term TV deals with pro sports leagues.

Earlier this year, the sports network laid off roughly 100 on-air personalities and writers.

In 2015, ESPN laid off about 300 employees, which was about 4% of its global workforce.

At the time, it was reported that ESPN was told by Disney to trim costs.

Disney’s decision to keep Skipper at the helm likely means a smoother transition as the network shifts toward digital.

Disney recently acquired a majority stake in BAMTech, a major video streaming and marketing company, and plans to launch an ESPN streaming service next spring.