Steve Bornstein - Former CEO, ESPN & NFL Network

Getting Acquired


Steve Bornstein, Former CEO ESPN and Former CEO of NFL Network

Steve Bornstein was most recently the President and CEO of the NFL Network and was also the NFL’s Executive-Vice President of Media. Prior to joining the NFL, Bornstein was the Chairman of ESPN, and also served as president of ABC While at ESPN, he organized putting SportsCenter reruns on during the morning hours. He joined ESPN in 1980 as manager of programming when the cable sports network was a four-month-old start-up. He advanced through the network’s programming and production ranks, becoming ESPN’s youngest president and CEO in 1990 at age 38. Three years later, he was given the additional title of corporate vice president of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc.

Summary Notes on Getting Acquired

Importance of relationships in acquisitions

  • Has been involved in acquisitions with familiar players and in those that were more auction-like
  • Need to be comfortable with the acquirer / target
  • He tried to avoid an auction scenario
  • If you know someone well, this gives the benefit of the doubt

Deal timing and what can help close

  • Key relationships can develop instantaneously
  • If you believe in your mission and pick the right partners you set yourself up for success