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The Paley Center for Media Celebrates the 35th Anniversary of ESPN, Executive Chairman George Bodenheimer, and President John Skipper with the Paley Prize for Innovation and Excellence at its Annual New York Spring Benefit Dinner

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

NEW YORK, NY —The Paley Center for Media will honor ESPN on its 35th anniversary at its annual spring benefit dinner in New York, which will take place on Wednesday, May 28, at 6:30 pm. ESPN, Executive Chairman George Bodenheimer, and President John Skipper will be awarded the Paley Prize for Innovation and Excellence in recognition of their landmark achievements in media and their impact around the globe.  

Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Paley Center’s ongoing programs to increase the public’s understanding of media and its growing significance in today’s society through public, industry, international, and education programs for students and teachers..  

The evening will be emceed by anchors Bob Ley and Chris “Boomer” Berman, and each decade in the network’s history will be hosted by prominent ESPN on-air personalities: a look back at ESPN in the eighties will be hosted by John Saunders; the nineties Keith Olbermann and Stuart Scott; the 2000’s by Mike & Mike hosts Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg; and the current decade by Linda Cohn.  SportsNation host Michelle Beadle will provide lively commentary as the “on-the field” roving reporter, speaking to the sports and media luminaries in attendance.

 “Thirty-five years ago, ESPN debuted with little fanfare; today, it is the worldwide leader in sports broadcasting, with a fan-centric approach that aims to fuel our passion for the teams we love and provide access to coverage, stats, and information anytime, anywhere," said Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of The Paley Center for Media.   “The remarkable domestic and international growth of the ESPN footprint during Bodenheimer and Skipper’s tenure reflects their ability to identify emerging media platforms and use them to better serve passionate sports fans around the globe.”

Maureen Reidy, chief marketing officer of The Paley Center for Media elaborated, “This year’s Paley Center benefit dinner also serves as the official launch of an exciting Paley Center sports industry initiative that will include dynamic new partnerships with sports industry leaders and institutions as well as an incredible lineup of public events, programs, and screenings of major sporting events that will roll out this summer, fall, and into 2015. With all-star athletes, League Commissioners, ESPN personalities, and the leading media and sports industry executives expected to attend, the gala has quickly become the can’t-miss event of the spring and will certainly be a night to remember.”
In addition, having just partnered with the USOC and Paley Center Trustee Emeritus Gordon Crawford to offer the public the first comprehensive archive of historic recordings of U.S. broadcasts of the Olympic Games, the Paley Center plans to unveil several new sports-related archive acquisitions in the coming months.

George Bodenheimer assumed the newly created position of executive chairman, ESPN, Inc. in 2012 and in that capacity, he provides strategic direction for ESPN’s global business. Bodenheimer is an ESPN and cable industry pioneer and, as the company’s longest-tenured president, he led an unprecedented period of global growth.  Bodenheimer’s path to leadership mirrors that of ESPN itself – with his sharp focus on creativity and cutting-edge innovation, always enhancing value for sports fans and ESPN’s business partners, and his conviction for teamwork.  He believes ESPN’s culture is the company’s strategic advantage.  As president, he viewed his primary role as working hard to preserve and enhance that culture while emphasizing career development for all of ESPN’s people.
Since taking the helm as ESPN president and cochairman, Disney Media Networks in 2012, John Skipper has secured ESPN’s leadership position in the crowded sports media landscape into the next decade with bold moves and a commitment to championship events delivered across every available platform. Most noteworthy, Skipper has led ESPN to a series of long-term, multiplatform agreements with major rightsholders and distributors including Major League Baseball, the College Football Playoff, ACC, Big 12, US Open Tennis, Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls, WNBA, American Athletic Conference, Mountain and West Conference.

Follow @paleycenter on Twitter and the hashtag #PaleyGala for updates about the event.

Those interested in purchasing tables and tickets should contact Larry Henry at 212.621.6622.


About The Paley Center for Media
The Paley Center for Media, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public. Drawing upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the leaders of the media community, the Paley Center examines the intersections between media and society. The general public can access the collection and participate in programs that explore and celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities, and the leaders who are shaping media. Through the global programs of its Media Council and International Council, the Paley Center also serves as a neutral setting where media professionals can engage in discussion and debate about the evolving media landscape. Previously known as The Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, a pioneering innovator in the industry. For more information, please visit

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