Burke Magnus, the ESPN executive who oversees rights negotiations for big-league broadcasts and other top sports content, has been named president of programming and original content at the Walt Disney sports-media giant.
The move reflects new duties Magnus has taken on in the wake of the departure of Connor Schell, who was previously ESPN’s top content executive. Magnus was already supervising scheduling and programming acquisitions. Since November, however, he has been responsible for all original content development on ESPN and its streaming outlet ESPN Plus — duties that include responsibility for ESPN Films and the company’s “30 for 30” documentary franchise. Magnus will continue to report to Jimmy Pitaro, chairman of ESPN.
“Burke is a talented leader and collaborative colleague who has been instrumental in guiding ESPN through what has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging and critical periods in our history,” Pitaro said, in a statement. “He is an industry-leading programming strategist who continues to take on new challenges with his signature combination of relationship building and creativity.”
Magnus has had a busy few months. He was one of the executives who had to help ESPN scramble to fill its schedule when the recent coronavirus pandemic forced the shutdown of most live sports broadcasts. He has also helped negotiate new rights agreements with the NFL, MLB, NHL, SEC, and LaLiga.
The executive joined ESPN in 1995 as a program associate, and has held various programming department positions since. He graduated from College of the Holy Cross with a bachelor’s degree in history and then received his master’s degree in sport management from the University of Massachusetts.