Burke Magnus Biography and Career Life

Burke Magnus assumed the role of Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling, in May 2015, after previously serving as Senior Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions from January 2014 and Senior Vice President, College Sports Programming since March 2008.

In this prominent position, Magnus oversees all aspects of program acquisitions and rights holder relations, content strategy, and scheduling across professional, college, and amateur sports for the company. Additionally, in June 2017, he and his team took on direct oversight of ESPN’s relationship with BAMTech.

Before taking on this role, Magnus played a crucial role in shaping the strategic direction of the company’s college sports content. This involved acquiring, scheduling, and programming college football, college basketball, and NCAA Championships across ESPN Networks.

His efforts were instrumental in securing long-term rights to the new College Football Playoff, prestigious bowl games like the Rose, Sugar, and Orange Bowls, as well as agreements with major college athletics conferences including the ACC, Pac-12, Big 12, and SEC.

In November 2004, Magnus assumed the position of Vice President and General Manager of ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network. He skillfully managed all programming, production, and operations for ESPNU while leading a cross-departmental team responsible for the network’s growth and development along with related multimedia initiatives.

Under his guidance, ESPNU substantially increased its subscriber count through satellite and cable affiliation agreements, and he spearheaded the launch of ESPNU.com. Moreover, he laid the groundwork for the introduction of ESPNU HD in August 2008.

His journey at ESPN began in 1995 when he joined as a Program Associate. Over the years, he held various positions, including Program Planner, Program Manager, and Director of Brand Management (later changed to Director, Programming and Acquisitions), where he played a significant role in men’s college basketball programming and scheduling.

During his tenure, men’s college basketball ratings witnessed consistent growth, and initiatives like Bracket Buster Saturday and College GameDay (basketball version) were successfully introduced.

Magnus is widely recognized for his influence and contributions in the sports industry. In 2013, SI.com named him the fifth “Most Powerful Person in College Sports,” following the prestigious National Football Foundation’s Legacy Award for his support and leadership in promoting college football. He was also honored in 2006 as one of the Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40, a distinguished accolade that recognizes the most promising young executives in the sports business industry under the age of 40.

He graduated from Holy Cross in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in history and further pursued a master’s degree in sport management from the University of Massachusetts in 1994. During his time at UMass, he gained valuable experience as a programming intern for CBS Sports. In recognition of his achievements, UMass bestowed upon him the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the McCormack Department of Sport Management in 2011.