During his 21-year tenure at ESPN, Kosner and his team established a track record of innovation in streaming and video-on-demand, fantasy games, podcasting, online advertising and third-party partnerships. He played a pivotal role in all major ESPN rights acquisitions and M&A initiatives, leveraging an exceptionally deep network in media, technology and sports built over four decades.
ESPN is the only digital media company to have grown from being the leader in its category at the beginning of the internet era in 1995 to be an even stronger #1 when he departed in 2018.
Kosner oversaw a global workforce exceeding 800, including editorial operations on six continents. He has hired and helped develop many of the top sportswriters of this generation including Wright Thompson, Bill Simmons, Zach Lowe, Ramona Shelburne, Bill Barnwell and Sambit Bal as well as specialists like Adrian Wojnarowski, Matthew Berry and Darren Rovell.
He has also hired and elevated outstanding leaders including Aaron LaBerge, now ESPN’s CTO; Rob King, former “SportsCenter” head, who now oversees ESPN’s news operations; Ryan Spoon, ESPN’s first product chief; Chad Millman, ESPN.com’s Editor in Chief (now leading “The Action Network”), Laura Gentile, head of espnW and Women’s Initiatives; and Hugo Balta, ESPN’s first multicultural editor. In Jan., 2016, Kosner named Alison Overholt as 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.
Kosner directed development of ESPN’s direct to consumer initiatives:
• Increasing ESPN Fantasy to 20mm active users, led by its Fantasy Football game, and making a national holiday out of the network’s Tournament Challenge game for March Madness;
• Integrating streaming into the ESPN App and producing an industry-leading 19,000 live events in 2017;
• Building ESPN’s direct-to-consumer service Insider to 750,000 subscribers; and
• Raising ESPN’s registered user-base to 58 million.
• And Kosner made ground-breaking, strategic partnerships: the first Twitter Amplify deal for college football highlights (2013), first Snapchat Discover partnership (2015), first Apple News partnership (2015), first Google One-Box highlight agreement for World Cup (2014); live streaming on Xbox (2010), first Amazon Echo Sports News Skill (2017).