Disney ups Pitaro to ESPN president ahead of EPSN+ launch

Disney has promoted chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, James Pitaro, to president of ESPN and co-chair of Disney Media Networks.

Pitaro starts with immediate effect and will report directly to Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger. He replaces acting chair of ESPN, George Bodenheimer, who will stay on to the end of the year as a consultant.

The appointment was announced ahead of the launch this spring of ESPN’s new direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service, ESPN+, which will offer a lineup of thousands of live sporting events, original content and a library of on-demand programming.

“Jimmy is a talented and dedicated leader with the right strategic vision, relentless drive and passion for sports required to lead the stellar ESPN team at this incredibly dynamic time,” said Iger.

“Jimmy forged his career at the intersection of technology, sports and media, and his vast experience and keen perspective will be invaluable in taking ESPN into the future.

“I also want to extend my utmost thanks to George Bodenheimer for serving as acting chair of ESPN these past few months; he is a true industry pioneer and helped make ESPN the Eundisputed leader in sports.”

Pitaro said: “As a passionate and lifelong sports fan, I am honoured to be joining the ESPN team during such a pivotal time in its storied history.”

“The appetite for quality sports content across platforms has never been greater, and I am looking forward to working with the talented ESPN team as we continue to redefine the future fan experience.”

ESPN+ will be integrated into a revamped ESPN App that will serve as the all-in-one, personalised digital destination for all that ESPN offers – including scores, news, highlights and authenticated live streaming of ESPN’s eight US networks.