The Coronavirus pandemic has touched all parts of life and sports. And, in boxing one of the prominent television executives for the sport in the United States has successfully overcome and recovered.
DAZN executive chairman John Skipper tested positive for the potentially deadly virus two weeks ago, but has since recovered while it home and after not having to be hospitalized. This was confirmed by a DAZN spokesperson on Wednesday night:
DAZN chairman and former ESPN president John Skipper tested positive for the coronavirus on March 16, but has since recovered after battling a bad cold and persistent fever. https://t.co/M2VNM2goZS
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) April 2, 2020
The 62 year old former head of ESPN came to DAZN two years ago and has been a driving force behind there massive rights deals with professional sports leagues. These include Major League Baseball, Champions League Soccer and of course, boxing.
Most prominently is DAZN’s massive deal with four Division World Champion Canelo Alvarez for 11 fights and over $330 million.
Sports Business Daily reported on Thursday that Skipper tested positive two weeks ago after having felt ill for over a week. According to the site, Skipper chose to keep details of his illness private, in part because he did not want to further worry his mother, who is in an assisted living facility in North Carolina.
New York city, where DAZN is based, has seen surging positive COVID 19 cases this week with over 41,000 confirmed infected and over 1,000 deaths as of Wednesday.
The news comes on the heels of DAZN streaming proactively reaching out to their sports league partners and Boxing entities that it has agreements with earlier this week to notify them that they will not be making any rights fee or advance payments until games and fights resume.
Also in an email from their CEO,Simon Denyer, telling employees that the streaming company will be furloughing, or laying off, a good portion of their workforce in the coming weeks. The email to them read in part,
“This would involve your job remaining open for you after the crisis period. Full details of this will be communicated as soon as possible,” Denyer said.
“I know for many of you that this message will create anxiety and uncertainty. I am deeply sorry for that, as I know all of us have our own personal challenges and stresses at the moment. This is the biggest disaster to hit the sports world in 75 years and the biggest challenge our business has ever faced.”