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50 Most Influential people in sports business 2008
Published December 15, 2008
This year’s list naming the 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business almost felt like a sidebar to the debate that dominated our selection process. Time and time again, the discussion veered back to whether the crippled economy, clearly influencing decisions throughout the industry, needed to be recognized.
Putting a phenomenon atop a list of people has been done before. It’s sometimes an innovative way to reflect extraordinary events, but it also can be a cop-out. So the debate turned to whether the man who would try to stabilize the economy, Barack Obama, was “the one.” Combine his outspokenness on the BCS and his love of sports, and we could envision him being the most active president this business has ever seen. But many sources stressed that the economy, not so much Obama, should be considered.
In the end, ESPN’s historic deal landing the rights to the BCS helped catapult George Bodenheimer to the top of our list. He’s not a new face, but he’s a trusted visionary who is changing the media map every single day.
Much of ESPN’s success is dismissed as their having more money. They do, but they also have been ahead of the competition in delivering more content to more consumers through more devices and connections than any other media company.
ESPN is an extremely successful sports business, and the brand is nearly monolithic. That doesn’t just happen. Bodenheimer led the way.