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NFL Network executive Steve Bornstein to retire

You may not know the name of Steve Bornstein, but consider this. He's influenced the way you have watched the NFL on television for over two decades. Since 2002, he's been the President and Chief Executive Officer of NFL Network and before that, he was with ESPN/ABC dating back to 1980. James Andrew Miller in the New York Times reports that Bornstein plans to leave his position with NFL Network when his contract expires in 2014.

At ESPN, Bornstein moved up the ranks to become its Chief of Programming when the network first landed the NFL with eight Sunday night games in 1987. He was influential for the network to purchase the rights to an entire season of Sunday Night Football in 1997. When he left ESPN/ABC, he had become Chairman of ESPN and President of ABC.

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In 2002, Bornstein moved to the National Football League and oversaw the 2003 launch of NFL Network. Since 2003, Bornstein's stamp on the NFL on TV is seen all over the United States and beyond. 

In 2005, Bornstein led the negotiations that saw ESPN pay over one billion dollars a season for Monday Night Football and brought NBC back to the NFL with Sunday Night Football making it the premier primetime package. In addition, he spearheaded the move to bring eight Thursday night to NFL Network.

And Bornstein's most recent moves were to negotiate carriage agreements with Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable for NFL Network expanding its reach to 70 million homes.

Back in June, The Big Lead reported that Bornstein was planning to step down, but an NFL spokesman quickly shot down the story, one even telling Awful Announcing that there was no plans for him to retire. However, almost two months later, the story has surfaced that Bornstein is indeed leaving. 

It's expected that Brian Rolapp, the Chief Operating Officer of NFL Media will succeed Bornstein and Rolapp was involved in the latest TV negotiations that increased ESPN's rights fee for Monday Night Football to almost $2 billion per season. 

It's not known if Bornstein will continue in television or outright retire. No matter what he does next, his legacy in the sports television is secure and it's seen every fall when the NFL kicks off on screens and monitors across the country.

[New York Times]

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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