ESPN's Connolly To Lead Media Distribution For All Of Disney
ESPN’s JUSTIN CONNOLLY has been promoted to Disney President of Media Distribution. He is replacing JANICE MARINELLI, who earlier this week announced that she is leaving her role as President of Global Sales & Marketing for Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international division. Marinelli had been with Disney for 34 years. Connolly will remain in N.Y. and report to Disney Chair of Direct-to-Consumer & Int'l KEVIN MAYER. Connolly had been Disney and ESPN Media Networks Exec VP/Affiliate Sales & Marketing, reporting to ESPN President JIMMY PITARO. He started at ESPN in '03 and has held a variety of jobs, including launching and running SEC Network for a number of years. In '15, SBJ inducted Connolly into its "Forty Under 40" HOF. In his new role, Connolly will oversee a combined group of Disney’s media sales and channel distribution, encompassing media, affiliate, content and syndication sales/distribution. Connolly will continue to oversee affiliate sales and marketing, which means he still will have a heavy hand in the distribution of ACC Network. The ABC affiliate relations and marketing team will continue to report to him. His new duties put him as the exec in charge of all content sales agreements for Disney, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox Film, Fox Animation, Disneynature, ABC Studios, ABC Entertainment, National Geographic, FX Productions, 20th Century Fox TV, WABC, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior. He also will head up global app distribution sales for Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming services, as well as distribution of film and TV programming. Connolly will continue to sit in on Pitaro’s management meetings. Pitaro is said to be well on his way to finding an exec to fill Connolly’s role as ESPN’s head of strategy.