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To be Honored During the May 5th Ceremony
At Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center

New York, NY – February 11th, 2015 – The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) today announced that George Bodenheimer, former ESPN Executive Chairman, and President, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports at the 36th annual Sports Emmy® Awards ceremony at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Tuesday, May 5th, 2015.

“The National Academy is awarding this year’s Sports Lifetime Achievement Award to an individual who helped change the landscape of sports broadcasting globally,” said Bob Mauro, President, NATAS. “Working his way up from the mailroom, George Bodenheimer became its longest-tenured President while leading ESPN to an unprecedented period of global growth. His guiding hand in a multiplicity of new networks and platforms has made ESPN synonymous with sports content‘anytime and anywhere.’ The National Academy is delighted to bestow this well-deserved honor to him.”

George Bodenheimer graduated Denison University in 1980 with a degree in Economics. In 1981 he joined the fledgling ESPN as a driver in the mailroom and rose to become a cable industry pioneer and the company’s fifth and longest-tenured President (13 years-1998-2011).

Consistent and substantive growth defined Bodenheimer’s tenure as President, leading to unprecedented success.  His leadership style was simple but effective: empower all employees to proactively take charge of their careers and to base decisions on the company’s stated mission: “Serve Sports Fans. Anytime.  Anywhere.”

During Bodenheimer’s time as President, ESPN grew to:

  • Eight domestic television networks, up from four
  • Nearly 100 million households for ESPN and ESPN2, from 75 and 62 million, respectively
  • 48 international television networks, from 20
  • 18 web sites, from one
  • 7,000 employees worldwide, from 1900

His focus moved the company from mostly television deals of a shorter length to multiplatform deals of significant length. Some examples of the roughly 30 agreements reached with major leagues, conferences and associations:

  • SEC, Pac 12, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 – all 10-15 years for multiplatform coverage and the entire Bowl Championship Series
  • Multimedia rights for “Monday Night Football”, MLB, NBAand NASCAR
  • 12-year deal for the entire Wimbledon tournament and long-term extensive coverage of US Open tennis. Also, The Masters and Indianapolis 500
  • Long-term multimedia agreements with the NCAA, including every game of the Women’s Basketball Tournament

Under Bodenheimer’s leadership, ESPN offered more leading platforms than any other sports media entity and expanded the brand internationally.

  • Launching ESPN HD in 2003, ESPN Deportes in 2004, ESPNU in 2005, Longhorn Network in 2011
  • Expansion in Latin America: television, including the launch of ESPN3 in Argentina in 2011; ESPN Play (broadband);; and (online); “ESPN The Magazine”Mexico and Brazil (print); ESPN Mobile and radio
  • Acquired ESPN America (formerly NASN) which showcases North American sports across Europe
  • 13 international versions of the flagship “SportsCenter”

Bodenheimer’s leadership has been recognized throughout the industry.  In April 2005, he received a Vanguard Award, the industry’s highest honor, from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.  In 2008, he was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame for his leadership, innovation and contributions to the cable industry and his community. In December 2012, he was honored twice:  the Distinguished American Award from The National Football Foundation and induction into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

About The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy® Award for News & Documentary, Sports, Daytime Entertainment, Daytime Creative Arts & Entertainment, Public & Community Service, and Technology & Engineering. NATAS membership consists of over 14,000 broadcast and media professionals represented in 19 regional chapters across the country. Beyond awards, NATAS has extensive educational programs including Regional Student Television and its Student Award for Excellence for outstanding journalistic work by high school students, as well as scholarships, publications, and major activities for both industry professionals and the viewing public.  For more information, please visit the website at

For More Information: Paul Pillitteri, SVP Communications, NATAS                       Email: