2009 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient — Bryan Burns
UCM President Aaron Podolefsky, right, congratulates 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Bryan Burns.
Since his graduation from the University of Central Missouri in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in communication, Bryan Burns has taken what he considers the “ultimate on-the-job” training as a student in the university’s public relations and sports information areas to become an executive in the sports media industry.
Having spent his early years after college working for organizations such as the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball, he joined ESPN in 1996, after serving the organization as a client at his New York City-based consulting firm, The Paragon Alliance.
Since 2000, he has provided leadership in strategic planning and development for ESPN, where he has been responsible for the creation of a wide variety of ESPN television productions, including ESPN Today, ESPN Now, ESPN Full Court, MLS/ESPN Shootout for Major League Soccer, and ESPN Extra. He was an integral part of the creation of the business planning for ESPN HD in 2002 and ESPN2 HD in 2005, two services that propelled the organization into high definition television years ahead of its competitors. Such efforts contributed to his induction into the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers, and being recognized three times by CableFAX Daily as one of “Cable’s 100 Heavy Hitters.”
Burns’ career includes 16 years in Major League Baseball, seven of which were spent as senior vice president, business operations for the Office of the Commissioner, where his responsibilities included handling worldwide television operations and overseeing special events such as the World Series, League Championship Series, and the All-Star Game. He was director of broadcasting for the Kansas City Royals from 1974-1983.