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Admired for championing Bill Simmons's Grantland website and for his extracurriculars (he teamed with Hillary Clinton to promote international efforts to empower women in sports), Skipper could easily be No. 1 on this list given ESPN's might.
5 BUD SELIG
In the twilight of his commissionership, the 78-year-old (who, like Stern, insists he'll retire in 2014) is leaving a significant imprint on his game. MLB negotiated eight-year deals in October with Fox and Turner Sports that doubled the previous payment to an average of $800 million annually; regional sports networks are proving a growth market; and the league is doing well in-house too, with attendance rising in '12 to 74.9 million, the highest since '08. (Unlike Stern's NBA, Selig's MLB lacks a thrilling climax: Last year's Giants-Tigers Fall Classic was the lowest-rated in history.)
As a policy guy, Selig and the MLBPA put together the toughest anti-PED policies in U.S. pro sports, and his addition of a second wild-card spot last season proved a success. But mostly his bosses love him for this: The average MLB team's value rose 16% last year, to an alltime high of $605 million, according to Forbes.
6 STAN KROENKE
Kroenke Sports Enterprises owner
[BILLIONAIRE][TEAM/LEAGUE OWNER][WORLD POWER][HERMIT]
The reticent real-estate mogul could go unrecognized on the main drag of any town. But as the owner of the Rams, Nuggets, Avalanche, Rapids and most of Arsenal, Kroenke, 65, has more holdings devoted to sports properties ($4 billion) than anyone else on the planet. Dinging his stock: Arsenal's recent slide (leading to rumors of a takeover) and, when it comes to America's biggest sport, his Rams are still, well, the Rams.