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Executive Profile: George Bodenheimer (ESPN/ABC Sports)

Monday, December 3, 2007 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 10:21 PM, under , , , ,

Athens, GA (Dec 3, 2007) - At age 46, George Bodenheimer heads up the largest sports entertainment business in the world. Would a lot of people give their right arm for that job. The following is his profile as published by the Walt Disney Company.

headshot_GeorgeBodenheimerAn ESPN and cable industry pioneer, George Bodenheimer, 46, was named ESPN's fifth President on November 19, 1998. Bodenheimer's path to leadership mirrors that of ESPN itself - with his sharp focus on creativity and cutting-edge innovation, his emphasis on always enhancing value for ESPN's fans and business partners, and his conviction for teamwork. On March 3, 2003, he was also appointed President of ABC Sports, overseeing all the multimedia sports assets of The Walt Disney Company. The role of co-chairman, Disney Media Networks was added on April 20, 2004.

As President of ESPN, Inc., Bodenheimer leads one of the world's premier brands with more than 40 business entities and counting - including seven domestic (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Today and ESPN Now) and 25 international television networks, ESPN HD, a simulcast service of ESPN in high-definition, ESPN Regional Television,, ESPN Radio, ESPN The Magazine and books, SportsTicker, the ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN Broadband, ESPN Wireless, ESPN Video-on-Demand, ESPN Interactive and ESPN Pay-Per-View.

As President of ABC Sports, he plans to grow its tradition of excellence. ABC Sports has the most comprehensive sports programming schedule and is the broadcast home of Monday Night Football, the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup, the BCS Championship, World Cup Soccer, British Open, Little League World Series, U.S. and World Figure Skating Championships, the IRL featuring the Indy 500, PGA TOUR and more. ABC Sports is Championship Television.

Bodenheimer, who joined the company in January 1981, had served as Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing for ESPN since September 1996.

Business Initiatives

Throughout his career, Bodenheimer's contributions have been integral to ESPN's success. His business initiatives were designed with one goal in mind - to bring greater value to all of ESPN's constituents: affiliates, advertisers, rightsholders and ultimately consumers.

Since becoming president, his vision has led to company and industry-leading innovations in integrated sales and marketing, original programming, acquisitions and new technologies. At the same time, he has solidified and enhanced ESPN's position as the Worldwide Leader in Sports.

Integrated Sales and Marketing

He drove the establishment of the ESPN ABC Sports Customer Marketing and Sales division, which markets and sells packages across an unparalleled collection of multimedia sports assets and leads the industry in developing specialized programs designed to achieve clients' marketing and sales goals.


He set the strategy to present the ESPN, ABC Sports and The Walt Disney Company assets to the NBA and negotiated a wide-ranging, multimedia, multi-year agreement making ESPN the first television network in history to own rights for all four major professional sports at the same time;

He created ESPN Original Entertainment, which produces programming outside the network's traditional event and news/information programming;

He acquired the businesses and assets of BASS, the world's largest fishing organization, which led to the creation of ESPN Outdoors;

He led the programming department in completing long-term multimedia agreements with the NCAA, including every game of the Women's Basketball Tournament beginning in 2003; Wimbledon; the PGA TOUR; and World Cup and MLS Soccer;

He initiated the development of ESPN Deportes, a Spanish-language programming block, which launched as a 24-hour network in January 2004;

He directed the enhancement of NHL programming, proprietary events and global expansion of the X Games, the ESPY Awards and ESPNEWS relaunch.


He has overseen the launch of nine new networks, including ESPN Classic Sport in France and in Italy; localized SportsCenters in Asia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, Latin America, Mexico and Taiwan; and Global X Games events.


The company under his direction launched a variety of efforts focusing on interactive television, broadband technology and wireless products;

He announced a high-definition simulcast service of ESPN that launched March 30, 2003.

For these and many other developments, Bodenheimer was named the 2001 "Sports Industrialist of the Year," the highest honor given by the Sports Business Daily. The award recognizes his "vision in developing new techniques and innovations to stimulate corporate growth," his maximizing of the connection between sports and entertainment, and his building the ESPN brand in the global marketplace. The Sporting News selected him as 2003's "Most Powerful Person in Sports." The list ranks those who "wield the most influence in the world of sports." Also in 2003, the Greater New York March of Dimes recognized him with its Corporate Leadership Award.

Prior to Presidency

During his career at ESPN, he has been strategically involved in the development and distribution of the ESPN domestic networks and product, including ESPN2, ESPN Classic and ESPNEWS, as well as ESPN The Magazine, and ESPN Radio. He led the most successful launch of a new network in the modern era of cable when ESPN2 debuted in 10 million homes in October 1993. ESPN2, the fastest network to reach 80 million homes, is the nation's second largest sports network and features a programming lineup on par with ESPN.

Prior to becoming President, Bodenheimer was responsible for affiliate sales, advertising sales, marketing and research for all of ESPN's domestic networks. In 1995, Bodenheimer implemented an integrated sales and marketing unit to facilitate multimedia buys across all of ESPN's franchises. ESPN's multimedia platforms provide the most effective and efficient sports marketing vehicle worldwide for advertisers and affiliates, who cite ESPN number one in subscription acquisition, retention and local ad sales.

Industry Leadership

Bodenheimer's leadership has been recognized throughout the industry. ESPN in 1995 earned the inaugural CAB Award for Network Affiliate Sales Achievement, given to the network which supplies cable advertisers with the finest local advertising support. In 1996, ESPN was named Cable Marketer of the Year by Advertising Age.

He chaired the Marketing Committee for the NCTA's successful "On Time Guarantee" initiative and led ESPN's involvement in "Cable in the Classroom," the industry's educational effort, through the critically acclaimed SportsFigures, a program that teaches math and science through sports.

Bodenheimer serves on the boards of NCTA (The National Cable Telecommunications Association), Cable in the Classroom, The V Foundation for Cancer Research, which ESPN founded with the late Jim Valvano, and the Cable Center, a Denver-based institution that educates and informs about the power of cable television. He has been named to the "CableFax 100" list of industry leaders each year since 1998. He is a member of the Cable Programming Committee of the Museum of Television and Radio.

Rapid Advancement

Bodenheimer, who began his ESPN career in the administration department, held several executive positions in ESPN's affiliate sales and marketing area throughout the 1980's, working in the company's Bristol, New York, Chicago, Denver and Dallas offices. In 1982, he joined the affiliate marketing staff as marketing representative for ESPN's South Central region. Bodenheimer was promoted to national accounts manager of the Rocky Mountain region (July 1985) and to director, affiliate sales, Eastern division (Feb. 1988). He was named vice president, affiliate sales, Eastern division in July 1989 and was promoted to vice president, national affiliate sales in June 1991. Bodenheimer was named vice president, affiliate sales and marketing in November 1992, and senior vice president, affiliate sales and marketing in Oct. 1993. He was appointed to senior vice president, sales and marketing in May 1995.

Biographical Information

He was graduated from Denison University in 1980 with a bachelor of arts degree in economics. Bodenheimer is based in New York but also works from ESPN's Bristol, Conn. headquarters. Bodenheimer is married with three children.


* Mar. 3, 2003 Added President, ABC Sports duties
New York
* Mar. 1, 1999 President, ESPN (all domestic & int'l operations)
New York
* Nov. 19, 1998 Named President, ESPN (domestic focus)
New York
* Sept. 1996 Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing
New York
* May 1995 Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing
New York
* Oct. 1993 Senior Vice President, Affiliate Sales & Marketing
New York
* Nov. 1992 Vice President, Affiliate Sales & Marketing
New York
* June 1991 Vice President, National Affiliate Sales
New York
* July 1989 Vice President, Affiliate Sales & Marketing, Eastern Div.
* Feb.1988 Director, Affiliate Sales & Marketing, Eastern Div.
* July 1985 National Accounts Manager, Rocky Mountain Region
* May 1985 Marketing Representative, Central Region
* March 1982 Marketing Representative, South Central Region
* Jan. 19, 1981 Joined ESPN in the Administration Department

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