BRISTOL - James Pitaro has been named president of ESPN and co-chair of Disney Media Networks, ESPN announced Monday.
“Jimmy is a talented and dedicated leader with the right strategic vision, relentless drive and passion for sports required to lead the stellar ESPN team at this incredibly dynamic time,” said Robert Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company.
Pitaro, who has served as chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media since 2016, will report directly to Iger, as the company prepares to launch ESPN Plus, a $5-a-month streaming service, within the next month.
The announcement of Pitaro’s promotion comes nearly three months removed from John Skipper resigning from his position as ESPN’s president, citing substance abuse issues as his reason for the decision.
ESPN recently has been dealing with declining ratings, with cable viewership falling, as the company has lost nearly 13 million subscribers in the last six years. The self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports” continues to try to adapt to the habits of modern-day sports fans, as many have dropped typical cable providers in favor of streaming services.
“As a passionate and lifelong sports fan, I am honored to be joining the ESPN team during such a pivotal time in its storied history,” Pitaro said. “The appetite for quality sports content across platforms has never been greater, and I am looking forward to working with the talented ESPN team as we continue to redefine the future fan experience.”
According to a statement issued by ESPN, Pitaro studied at Cornell University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in economics. He also holds a Juris Doctor from St. John’s Law School.
Before working for Disney, Pitaro served as vice president and head of Yahoo Media, where he developed initiatives for Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Music. Earlier in his career, he was vice president of business affairs for LAUNCH Media, Inc. and practiced law at several New York firms.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.