Live Sports in the Age of Cord-Cutting

The future of the traditional pay-TV model may seem uncertain with the proliferation of over-the-top offerings such as Netflix and HBO GO. As new digital video services continue to emerge, customers may find more and more reasons to cut the cord. However, former president of ESPN Inc. George Bodenheimer believes existing cable bundles will continue to have the edge on over-the-top content (OTT) when it comes to one thing: sports. Live sports programming, he tells GLG, will “continue to be a driver for all video packages.” While OTT services may supplement basic cable packages, Bodenheimer stresses, sporting events must be watched live.

George Bodenheimer’s path to leadership mirrored that of ESPN itself—a sharp focus on creativity and cutting-edge innovation, an emphasis on always enhancing value for ESPN’s fans and business partners, and encouraging a culture that puts people at the center of its mission. Consistently named one of the most influential figures in media and sports, Bodenheimer would never claim that his success is his alone. Having lead one of the world’s premier brands with more than 50 separate business entities, Bodenheimer is an extraordinarily humble leader who believes ESPN’s corporate success is a testament to its culture—one where its talent is passionate, creative, and empowered. Drawing on leadership insights he learned over the course of three decades at ESPN, Bodenheimer uses humor and straight talk to highlight the innovation, growth, and culture that made the company one of the crown jewels of The Walt Disney Company and a role model for many companies. In an unassuming and energetic style, Bodenheimer shares with audiences how to emulate the same inventiveness that has enhanced the value of ESPN and help grow the business in a hyper-competitive media landscape through entertaining sports anecdotes, video, and a question and answer format that can be tailored to each audience for everyone to enjoy. In Bodenheimer’s business leadership memoir, Every Town is a Sports Town: Business Leadership at ESPN, from the Mailroom to the Boardroom (May 2015), the ESPN and cable industry pioneer chronicles ESPN’s meteoric rise—one of the most remarkable stories about business and sports in our time.