Executive Chairman, ESPN, Inc.
After earning the title of the company’s longest-tenured president, George Bodenheimer became the first Executive Chairman for ESPN Inc., where he provides strategic direction for both ESPN’s global business and its board of directors.
Bodenheimer has led an unprecedented period of growth at ESPN by acquiring multiplatform deals and creating new television networks ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, and the Longhorn Network. He also helped grow the company’s popular brands, such as globally expanding the X Games and implementing programs outside of traditional sports news and events.
The network expanded internationally as well under Bodenheimer’s leadership with the launch of ESPN3 in Argentina, ESPN The Magazine Mexico and Brazil, 13 international versions of Sportscenter, ESPN UK, and the acquisition of ESPN America, which showcases North American sports across Europe.
Bodenheimer also drove technological innovation during his time as president, paving the way for ESPN to debut over 20 technological enhancements, launch five high-definition simulcast services, and develop the industry’s first 3D network and authenticated online networks. The technology team that Bodenheimer spearheaded won four Emmy awards, as well as 19 patents and Inventor awards—including one for the WatchESPN app, which allows fans to watch ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU live online and on mobile devices.
Bodenheimer has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including a Vanguard Award from the National Cable and Telecommunications Network. He was also inducted in the Cable Hall of Fame in 2008 and helped to elevate ESPN’s corporate outreach initiative—most notably the V Foundation for Cancer Research, which has raised over $100 million since 1993.
These contributions have been integral to ESPN’s success. Bodenheimer, who started as a driver in the mailroom just 16 months after the network had launched, helped the network become The Worldwide Leader in Sports by basing his decisions on the company’s stated mission: “Serve Sports Fans. Anytime. Anywhere.”