Wednesday, January 7
ESPN/ABC Sports president tops annual listing news services

NEW YORK -- George Bodenheimer, the president of ESPN and ABC Sports, was named the most powerful person in sports in The Sporting News' annual listing of the 100 most influential people in sports.

Bodenheimer moved up three spots from last year's rankings. He has been with ESPN for 23 years and was elevated to president in 1998. He became president of ABC last year.

Under Bodenheimer's guidance, ESPN became the first network to televise all four major team sports.

"I am proud to accept this honor on behalf of everyone at ESPN and ABC Sports," Bodenheimer said. "The fact that The Sporting News, with its great history and tradition, has recognized the tremendous value our people create every day is a terrific way to begin the New Year."

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was second on the list, which debuted in 1990.

Bodenheimer and Tagliabue were followed in the rankings by Nike CEO Phil Knight, baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford. Last year's most powerful person, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, slipped to ninth.

The rest of the top 10: NBA commissioner David Stern (sixth); Bob Kain, co-CEO of IMG; Mark Schweitzer, senior vice president of marketing, and Michael Robichaud, senior director of sports and event marketing, of Nextel; and Fox chairman and CEO David Hill.

Mark Shapiro, ESPN's executive vice president of programming and production, was 15th on the list.

Athletes on the list include Yao Ming (25th), Tiger Woods (26th), LeBron James (28th), and Serena Williams (35th). The Cowboys' Bill Parcells (36th) was the only coach in the list's first 40.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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