Steve Bornstein
Title: EVP, NFL Media; Pres/CEO, NFL Network
Last Year: #66
Age: 56
Education: U of Wisconsin-Madison, BS

Why Him? With the NFL an inarguable American passion and top-notch brand, Bornstein and league brass, including NFL chief Roger Goodell and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, continue to push NFL Net on their terms as a must-carry offering. Big cable so far has resisted digital basic carriage of the net, but the shoving match may soon tip in Bornstein’s favor. An FCC-appointed administrative law judge must rule by the middle of this month on NFL Net’s complaint against Brian Roberts and Comcast, which alleges the MSO moved it to a sports tier after the NFL opted not to sell it a package of 8 games. Irrespective of the outcome, Bornstein and NFL Net have forged other distribution initiatives, including live streaming of games for Verizon broadband subs and live telecasts of the games on Sprint handsets. Grande Comm and RCN were among ops that launched NFL Net HD this year.

Judgment Call: Bornstein and NFL Net achieved an important legislative victory in April, when an IL Senate committee passed a bill that directs to mandatory arbitration any carriage dispute between cable and indie programmers.

Year Ahead:
The judge’s decision, which must be subsequently voted on by the 5 FCC commissioners, will amount to either a holiday gift for the net, or a lump of coal.

CH

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