Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions, ESPN
Matt Kenny serves as the head of pro basketball and combat sports, programming and acquisitions for ESPN and ESPN+. A 23-year Disney veteran, he previously served as vice president, content distribution based in Burbank. He joined ESPN’s programming team in February 2019 to a new role overseeing combat sports. In December 2020, he added oversight of ESPN’s pro basketball business and serves as the company’s lead on all sports related PPV initiatives.
Kenny is responsible for all business activities, cross-platform programming, rights acquisitions, and scheduling with NBA, WNBA, UFC, Top Rank Boxing and more. In addition, he contributes to ESPN and ESPN+ original content development, having most recently served as an executive producer for UFC reality show “The Return of the Ultimate Fighter.” He is a key driver of the company’s direct-to-consumer priority through his collaboration with rights holders and stakeholders across The Walt Disney Company to drive subscriber acquisition, retention, PPV buys and revenue growth for ESPN+. Kenny also oversaw the successful launch of ESPN+ for Business which allows for the distribution and monetization of select ESPN+ exclusive live events to commercial locations throughout the U.S.
From 2013 to 2018, Kenny oversaw domestic distribution and multiplatform content licensing efforts with MVPDs, digital MVPDs and digital accounts for Disney and ESPN Media Networks, which includes ABC, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN Networks and Freeform. His team successfully completed Disney and ESPN Media Network’s first OTT distribution agreement and negotiated multiple digital MVPD agreements with the largest distributors in the industry. He also led efforts to negotiate platform agreements for ESPN+ at the early onset of the DTC offering’s launch.
A native of Cornwall, N.Y., Kenny graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and then received his MBA with honors from the University of Connecticut in 1999. He served as a four-year student manager for Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach, Jim Calhoun.