PBA Lands TV Sports Visionary Bornstein

by Bob Johnson 0

BornsteinSteve Bornstein, one of the most influential sports and entertainment media executives of the last quarter century, has joined the Professional Bowlers Association Board of Directors, Board Chairman Mike Slade announced Monday.

Bornstein played a major role in shaping the growth and success of ESPN and the National Football League. His career began as program coordinator for ESPN in 1980. Ten years later, he was named ESPN President and CEO.

He will lend his visionary expertise in the areas of marketing and deal-making to the PBA at a time when the professional bowling organization is experiencing unprecedented growth in television viewership and international multi-media awareness.

As a member of the PBA Board of Directors, Bornstein has offered to lend his vast array of experiences in the world of sports to the development of the PBA and its programs.

“I have always recognized the importance of the PBA on television, going back to my ESPN and ABC Sports days,” Bornstein said. “The PBA has shown great strength and momentum this season. I am very excited to join the board to help the PBA maximize its vast potential.”

Slade, one of the PBA’s owners since 2000, is excited to add Bornstein’s insights to the PBA leadership team.

“I’ve known Steve as a colleague and a close friend for over 20 years,” Slade said. “His expertise, enthusiasm and integrity are a huge plus for the PBA. I couldn’t be more excited. Together we will achieve great things for the PBA.”

PBA Commissioner Tom Clark is also looking forward to working with Bornstein.

“Having Steve join the board is a benchmark moment for the Professional Bowlers Association,” Clark said. “His accomplishments in the world of sports and sports entertainment are second to none. The PBA is riding a great wave of momentum and Steve brings an incredibly high level of expertise and connections. I look forward to working with and learning from him as we take the PBA to great heights.”

Bornstein, the President and CEO of the NFL Network from 2003 until 2013, teamed up with Jim Valvano to start The V Foundation for Cancer Research while president of ESPN Inc. in 1993. Prior to working with the NFL Network, Bornstein served as the President of ABC Inc., overseeing the network, TV/radio stations, and all the Disney-owned cable assets, as well as Touchstone Television and Buena Vista Television.

After becoming ESPN Inc.’s youngest President and CEO in 1990, Bornstein led the company through a nine-year period of network development and brand extension which included the launches of ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPN Classic, ESPN Radio and the Internet’s first sports website, ESPN.com. This spurred a global expansion of the company to numerous countries in their respective languages. Through this initiative, ESPN Inc. further established itself as “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.”

While continuing his responsibilities at ESPN Inc., Bornstein also was named President of ABC Sports in 1996. Through the creation of the National Championship of College Football (the Bowl championship series), he played a key role in establishing ABC Sports as the leading network for college football.

Bornstein is a recipient of the prestigious Vanguard Award for programmers, one of the highest honors given by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

A native of Fair Lawn, N.J., and a 1974 University of Wisconsin graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in film, Bornstein resides in New York and Los Angeles.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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