SBD/July 31, 2013/People and Pop Culture

NFL Network's Steve Bornstein To Step Down Next Spring After Contract Expires

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Bornstein worked as President of ESPN, then ABC, prior to joining the NFL
NFL Network President & CEO STEVE BORNSTEIN will "step down ... when his contract expires in the spring of 2014," according to James Andrew Miller of the N.Y. TIMES. He will be succeeded by NFL Media COO BRIAN ROLAPP. Bornstein joined the NFL in '02 and "laid the groundwork for the growth of the league’s media operations, in part by establishing the NFL Network, which made its debut" in '03. Much of Bornstein’s time was "spent securing full distribution for the new network on cable systems throughout the country." Known throughout the industry "as aggressive, Bornstein engaged in sometimes contentious negotiations with cable operators." NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL yesterday said, "Steve was great making sure we understood it was not going to be an easy road." In looking ahead to Rolapp, he said, "Technology is a great opportunity for the NFL, and Brian understands that. He’s been at the center of what we’ve been doing in technology, and that’s going to be his focus now that we have our broadcasting agreements in place." Miller notes Bornstein joined ESPN in '80, and in '90 at the age of 38 "became the network’s president." He stayed through '97, when "he was named chairman of ESPN and president of ABC." Bornstein said that he "had not decided what he would do next." Bornstein: "If you want to talk about what’s on my tombstone, which I hope is far away, both the NFL Network and ESPN would have to be mentioned. The difference is, the NFL was going to thrive with or without me. At ESPN, we were faced with a touch-and-go situation. There were no guarantees that business was going to survive" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/31).
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