A second senior executive responsible for striking deals between ESPN and other Disney-owned networks and their distributors has opted to depart the company, leaving open the question of who may shoulder responsibility for this important area of operations in months to come.
David Preshlack, a veteran with some 20 years at the sports-media juggernaut, is leaving ESPN, as detailed in a memo sent by ESPN president John Skipper on Monday. Preshlack was exec VP of affiliate sales and marketing for Disney and ESPN Networks Group, where he had a hand in everything from monetizing distribution of networks from ESPN to Disney Junior via cable, satellite and telco distributors to content distribution over smartphones and tablets. He is expected to remain with the company in an advisory capacity through the end of the year.
Announcement of his departure comes after ESPN revealed in late April that Sean Bratches, exec VP of sales and marketing, would step down from the company. Bratches had a strong hand in ensuring ESPN networks gained the broadest possible distribution from video distributors and is considered the architect of many of the company’s pacts in that area.
“David has been a key driver at every stage and has done all of that as the consummate professional, a trusted colleague, a valued friend and with a relentlessly positive spirit that touched us all,” Skipper said in the memo. “We are immeasurably better for having had him on our team.”
An ESPN spokeswoman declined to comment beyond Skipper’s memo.
Disney and DirecTV struck a multiyear carriage deal in December that allowed for that company’ s subscribers to stream ESPN content and other programming from Disney-owned networks. That pact was among the last the company had to negotiate for the time being, and may give Disney a break in distribution negotiations.