Burns currently leads the company’s domestic high-definition services, ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD, ESPNU HD and ESPNEWS HD. He has been an integral part of creation of the HD services from business planning prior to the announcement of ESPN HD in 2002. He chairs the company’s interactive television (ITV) cabinet, as well as a team analyzing the future of 3-D television for the company.
During his time with ESPN, Burns has been responsible for the conception of a wide variety of ESPN’s video products, including ESPN Game Plan, the company’s pay per view product for college football, ESPN FULL COURT for college basketball, and MLS/ESPN Shootout for Major League Soccer. He also designed ESPN Today, ESPN NOW and ESPN EXTRA. Burns also was responsible for ESPN’s special markets efforts to non-residential distributors such as commercial establishments and hotels plus the company’s overall relationships with DIRECTV and DISH Network.
Burns came to ESPN from The Paragon Alliance, a consulting firm he founded in 1992 after sixteen years in professional sports team management. His 16-year Major League Baseball career included seven years as senior vice president, 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. Burns also served as director of marketing and broadcasting for the Kansas City Royals from 1974-1983. At Comsat Video Enterprises from 1990-1992, Burns oversaw negotiations for the major sporting and special events included in the company’s Satellite Cinema and On Command Video pay-per-view services.
In 2009, Burns was named to the Consumer Electronics Associations board of industry leaders where he will serve as an advisor to CEA and its executive board in setting priorities for association activities and taking positions on important public policy issues.
Burns has been recognized three times by CableFAX as one of the CableFAX 100, profiling “cable’s 100 heavy hitters.” In 2004, Burns was inducted into the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers (DTV Academy), a select group of individuals who have made a significant contribution to the development, success and promotion of digital television.
Burns is a graduate of University of Central Missouri, where he received a bachelor of science in Communications. This fall, he received the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award, which was presented on the university’s campus in Warrensburg, Missouri. He currently serves on the advisory board for the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.