Justin Connolly – executive vice president, affiliate sales and marketing for Disney and ESPN Media Networks – oversees all aspects of domestic distribution, affiliate marketing and affiliate-related business operations for Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded, Freeform, Longhorn Network, SEC Network, and related WATCH authenticated products, HDTV, video-on-demand, and interactive television as well as retransmission consent agreements for The Walt Disney Company’s eight-owned ABC stations. Based in Bristol and New York, Connolly reports to John Skipper (president, ESPN and co-chairman, Disney Media Networks) and Ben Sherwood (president, Disney/ABC Television Group and co-chairman, Disney Media Networks).
Most recently, Connolly served as senior vice president, college networks and was responsible for setting the strategic direction, overseeing content acquisition and scheduling, and working collaboratively with all ESPN business units to maximize distribution, viewership and revenue opportunities for Longhorn Network and SEC Network. Under his direction, SEC Network was the most successful network launch in cable history.
Prior to his work with the college networks, Connolly served as senior vice president, national accounts for Disney & ESPN Media Networks. He was responsible for all domestic distribution and licensing efforts for The Walt Disney Company’s linear networks, broadband and VOD content within the Media Networks Group. His team worked to negotiate distribution agreements with all of the cable, satellite and IPTV distributors throughout the country. Connolly also worked to develop and implement sales strategies for all of the domestic linear networks as well as the new digital media products and services.
Since joining ESPN in 2003, Connolly has served in various capacities including director, strategy and operations (July 2003-July 2004) where he helped ESPN with its long-term affiliate negotiations. He was promoted to vice president, distribution strategy (August 2004-October 2005), where his duties included the development of pricing and packaging strategies while also participating in negotiating the distribution agreements involving Disney and ESPN assets.
Prior to joining ESPN, Connolly worked in the corporate finance group for The Walt Disney Company’s corporate treasury department in Burbank, Calif.
Connolly – a Boston native and Sports Business Journal 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame inductee – graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics in 1998 and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2003.