John Kosner has been ESPN’s digital leader since 2003.
As ESPN’s executive vice president, digital and print media, Kosner and his team have built the No. 1 digital destination for sports media, with 11 editions of ESPN.com – including nine sites outside of the U.S. covering the UK, Mexico, Argentina, India, Australia and more – plus nine versions of the ESPN App for iOS and Android including seven outside the U.S., and a content partnership with Tencent/QQ Sports in China.
In November 2016, ESPN extended its industry leadership to new heights as it reached a record 141 million global unique users, making it No. 1 for the first time both in the U.S. and outside the U.S. Also, the ESPN App was the world’s No. 1 sports app in terms of unique users and ESPN’s Fantasy App was No. 1 in terms of total minutes used.
ESPN has established its franchise by delivering the highest quality editorial across an unmatched number of sports to a wide audience of users on smartphones and digital devices. This effort continues to accelerate as ESPN expands its International editions of ESPN.com and local versions of the ESPN native app. ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine’s content capability is unmatched in breadth and recognition; both platforms received 105 industry awards in 2016.
Kosner’s influence and leadership has also been felt in other areas critical to ESPN, including:
- Streaming, from the introduction of “ESPN Motion” in 2002, ESPN3 and WatchESPN, to today’s integrated offering in the ESPN App. ESPN’s streaming efforts received critical acclaim during the 2014 World Cup and generated record usage in 2016;
- Third-party partnerships with Apple, Google, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, among others;
- Coverage of women’s sports with espnW, the network’s initiative for female sports fans;
- Digital Audio, including ESPN’s Podcenter and leading podcasts.
ESPN Digital Media has also received numerous awards including six Sports Business Journal Awards for Digital, including 2015, and the SBJ Sports Technology Award for WatchESPN in 2011. ESPN.com has also won eight Sports Emmys and two Online Journalism Awards, including the prestigious Award for General Excellence.
During Kosner’s tenure, Richard Lapchick has heralded ESPN’s commitment to diversity in his annual report cards on diversity hiring in digital and print sports media. In January 2016, Kosner named Alison Overholt, Editor in Chief, ESPN The Magazine, making her the first woman ever to serve as lead editor of a general interest sports publication. In Overholt’s first year, ESPN The Magazine won the prestigious National Magazine Award for General Excellence.
Sports Business Journal ranked Kosner as the Most Influential in Online Sports in October 2008, one of several industry citations he has received. Kosner serves on the board of Digital Content Next and the Mobile Marketing Association. He has also served as Chairman of the Online Publishers Association and is a member of the Alumni Council Executive Committee of his alma mater, the Collegiate School in New York City.
Kosner is a 39-year veteran of sports media, starting as an intern at NBC Sports in 1978. He joined ESPN in 1997 as vice president, programming development. In 1999, he was named vice president, ESPN.com programming and broadband development,and was promoted to his current position in January 2012. Earlier, Kosner worked at CBS Sports, the National Basketball Association and Sports Illustrated.
Kosner was graduated with distinction from Stanford University in 1982 with a bachelor of arts degree in American History. Kosner lives in New York with his wife Diane Burstein, their son, Luke, and his older children, Walter and Grace.