Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images
Senior Vice President, Programming and Content Strategy
Ilan Ben-Hanan, who joined ESPN in 2002, was named Senior Vice President, Programming and Content Strategy, in 2023. He leads the content strategy and scheduling across all domestic linear networks and digital platforms, including ESPN+, in addition to continued oversight of ESPN’s partnership with ABC, as well as the Ad Standards, Content Operations, Content Rights Management and Format Analysis teams.
Previously he was senior vice president, programming and acquisitions, from February of 2020, a position in which he oversaw ACC Network, ESPNU, Longhorn Network and SEC Network, setting the strategic direction for each of ESPN’s College Networks.
Prior to the College Networks position, Ben-Hanan managed the overall schedule for ESPN’s linear networks, a role he assumed in March 2017. He provided input across all sport categories, with an eye towards maximizing usage and revenue across all platforms. In 2019, he added oversight of ESPN’s sports betting content, as well as responsibility for ESPN’s relationship with the NHL.
Ben-Hanan held the position of vice president, college sports programming from July 2015 to March 2017. In this role, he managed the relationships and rights acquisition activities for the network’s entire college sports portfolio, comprised of the College Football Playoff and more than 30 bowl games, more than 20 NCAA Championships, and an industry-leading regular-season schedule of football, men’s and women’s basketball, and Olympic sports content.
Ben-Hanan was promoted to vice president, programming and acquisitions in 2011, overseeing college football programming across ESPN networks. He was the daily contact on college football for all major areas and businesses within ESPN, for ESPN externally, and with all leagues, conferences, schools and bowls, including the College Football Playoff and the previous Bowl Championship Series post-season system.
Ben-Hanan joined ESPN in 2002 as a programming associate for college basketball and X Games, and was promoted to planner, news & information and soccer in April 2004. He joined the team that launched ESPNU and was promoted to Manager, ESPNU programming in September 2005. Charged with creating the entire programming schedule for the network, he secured live events from conferences and institutions across the country at all levels of college sports. Seven months later, he was named director, college basketball programming. In that role, he set the schedule and strategy for more than 1,000 basketball games annually and created the schedule for the first Tip-off Marathon.
In August 2008, Ben-Hanan accepted the newly created position of senior director, West Coast programming, and moved back to his native California to work in ESPN’s Los Angeles office. During that time, he negotiated the extension of ESPN’s West Coast Conference rights agreement and led the interdepartmental efforts for the 2010 Rose Bowl and the BCS National Championship game in Pasadena while overseeing all ESPN-branded programming appearing on Disney XD.
A three-time cancer survivor, Ben-Hanan has been instrumental in the creation and promotion of one of ESPN’s and The V Foundation for Cancer Research’s biggest fundraising events, Jimmy V Week, an event he conceptualized in 2007. Ben-Hanan graduated from the University of Southern California, with a bachelor’s of arts degree in broadcast journalism. He has appeared on the sports quiz shows Sports Geniuses and ESPN’s 2-Minute Drill. In 2017, he was named to Sports Business Journal’s annual “Forty Under 40” list.