Bryan Burns


With 16 years in Major League Baseball and 17 years at ESPN, Bryan Burns has been at the forefront of the business revolution of the sports industry for over three decades.

He first was head of marketing and broadcasting for the Royals in Kansas City, where attendance levels in those years set club records which continue to stand today. He was asked to come to New York City to become Major League Baseball’s Director of Broadcasting, and less than two years later was named Senior Vice President of Business Operations under Commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Inside a lengthy list of responsibilities he was in charge of worldwide television distribution and the industry’s special events, such as the World Series and All-Star Game. Bryan also held final approval of the clubs’ local television and radio contracts, which then numbered over 70. That period began with 21 of the then-26 teams losing money. It ended with every franchise either breaking even or finishing in the black.

He became ESPN’s Vice President for Distribution Development, just months before Disney acquired Capital Cities/ABC and its 80% interest in ESPN, which Forbes magazine called “a small part of the deal.” Today, ESPN is now worth some $40 billion to Disney by Forbes’s measure. During that period, he moved throughout the company, working in Programming, Production, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, ESPN Enterprises, and directly for President George Bodenheimer.

After later being named ESPN’s Vice President for Strategic Business Planning and Development, his inner circle work as a recognized thought leader was highlighted by an entrepreneurial orientation.  He led the creation of profitable new products and video services which drove revenues, competitive position and value. In many areas, he set the compass for new operational considerations and under the radar infrastructure, allowing many new business opportunities to evolve and prosper.