John Kosner has been ESPN’s digital leader since 2003. As ESPN’s executive vice president, digital and print media, Kosner heads up development for:
- ESPN.com, the world’s leading online sports service
- ESPN The Magazine
- espnW, the network’s initiative for female sports fans
- ESPN’s industry-leading applications for all screens including WatchESPN and ESPN3, the premiere live sports event online service; and SportsCenter, the world’s most popular sports app.
Kosner also helped launch “Grantland.com,” the innovative sports and pop-culture site headed by ESPN’s star sportswriter Bill Simmons. Additionally, Kosner manages ESPN’s digital content development in Social Media including partnerships with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, among others. In 2014, ESPN shattered all audience records for online sports, generating 119 million worldwide unique users in September.
Kosner, who was promoted to his current title in January 2012, has overseen a period of tremendous growth and industry recognition for ESPN in Digital and Print Media. He and his team have helped ESPN.com establish a clear leadership position on the Sports Internet, in Digital Video and in Mobile:
- Pioneering online video with ESPN Motion, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app, which achieved record usage and acclaim during the 2014 World Cup;
- Developing ESPN Insider, an industry-leading paid subscription service;
- Guiding ESPN to No. 1 in Fantasy Sports;
- Achieving a commanding leadership share in sports mobile web and mobile apps, including the top-ranked mobile apps in the sports category;
- Building a digital audio powerhouse with ESPN Radio, including ESPNRadio.com and PodCenter, the leading sports podcast destination;
- Forming valuable partnerships with Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Xbox, YouTube, Instagram, Foursquare, eBay and Flipboard.
ESPN Digital Media has also received numerous awards including the Sports Business Journal Awards for Digital five times in seven years (2013, 2012, 2011, 2009 and 2008) and the 2011 SBJ Sports Technology Award for WatchESPN. ESPN.com has also won seven 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.
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 Mobile Marketing Association. He has also served as Chairman of the Online Publishers Association and is a member of the Alumni Council of his alma mater, the Collegiate School in New York City.
Kosner is a 36-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. Earlier, Kosner worked in programming at CBS Sports; at the NBA, where he led the league’s broadcasting operations for seven years; and at Sports Illustrated, where he developed television and interactive content for Sports Illustrated and SI for Kids magazines.
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.