Russell Wolff

Executive Vice President and Managing Director, ESPN International

Russell Wolff was promoted from senior vice president to executive vice president in November 2004.  He has served as managing director of ESPN International since June 2002.  He is based in ESPN International’s New York City headquarters and reports directly to John Skipper, President, ESPN and co-chair, Disney Media Networks.

Wolff is fully responsible for all of ESPN’s international businesses in over 61 countries and territories across all seven continents, which include partial or whole ownership of 26 networks televised outside of the United States, a broad portfolio of leading online and mobile brands and services, and radio businesses in five countries. He also oversees a variety of ancillary international businesses including consumer products, broadband and syndication.

Among his accomplishments with ESPN, Wolff has been responsible for guiding ESPN’s digital expansion around the world, including the launch of mobile, online and streaming platforms around the world. He works closely with ESPN’s digital media teams to grow of ESPN’s global digital media portfolio, which includes multiple local editions of ESPN.com and the ESPN app, ESPNFC (global football vertical), ESPNCricinfo (global cricket vertical), ESPN’s streaming platforms (WatchESPN, ESPN Player and ESPN Play) and multiple other digital initiatives.

Wolff also spearheaded a project to establish ESPN’s first branded television network in Europe and the growth of networks in the rest of the EMEA region. In July 2013, he oversaw ESPN International’s strategic refinements to the company’s15-year old businesses in the region, that led to a brand licensing agreement with BT Sport to own and operate the UK and Ireland ESPN-branded channel; the rest of ESPN networks in Africa, the Middle East, the UK and Ireland went off air that same month. The refocus has resulted in an emerging multimedia business that successfully operates digital products and television syndication.

As executive vice-president, Wolff has also been a key driver of ESPN’s continued growth and leadership in Latin America. Under his direction, the company has grown into a multimedia business that includes 13 television networks, the most diverse portfolio of programming and sports events, and the operation of production facilities and offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico to further localize the business offerings.

Wolff first joined ESPN International in 1997 as vice president, managing the company’s business interests in the Pacific Rim.  In 1998, he joined ESPN Star Sports, as vice president of programming and event management and was later promoted to senior vice president.  Wolff returned to ESPN in 2000 as senior vice president to manage programming, marketing, and the company’s businesses in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

After graduating from Dartmouth College with an A.B. degree in 1989, Wolff began his career at the Leo Burnett Company in Chicago (1989-1992).  Shortly afterwards, he returned to Dartmouth and received his M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration.  From 1994 to 1997, he worked at MTV Networks as director, market development, handling affiliate sales and marketing to alternative distributors for MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and Nick at Nite’s TV Land.

Wolff serves on the boards of CTV Specialty Television, Inc. and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  He also serves as an advisor on the television council of FIBA, the international Basketball Federation.

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12/4/15