David Berson was named President, CBS Sports, in June 2013. He joined CBS Sports in January 2011 as Executive Vice President, CBS Sports, and President, CBS Sports Network after 16 years at ESPN, where he began his career as an intern during college and later worked in various capacities in programming, affiliate sales and marketing and business development.
Berson helps oversee all aspects of CBS Sports’ day-to-day management across broadcast, cable and digital. Along with CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus, he manages the relationships with all of CBS Sports’ partners, including the NFL, the Masters, PGA TOUR, PGA of America, NCAA, Southeastern Conference and Big Ten Conference.
Berson was an integral part of the Network’s NFL rights negotiations. In December 2011, CBS Sports re-negotiated a nine-year deal to retain its NFL broadcast rights through the 2022 season. And in February 2014, CBS Sports secured the rights to the league’s new Thursday Night Football package for the 2014 season and subsequently launch the broadcast package in partnership with NFL Network. CBS Sports broadcast Thursday Night Football through the 2017 season, establishing Thursday nights as an NFL destination. In 2016, Berson was instrumental in the year-long Corporation-wide coverage of Super Bowl 50 featuring shows from nine CBS divisions with week-long, around-the-clock coverage from San Francisco and the Bay Area across multiple platforms including broadcast, cable and premium television, radio and digital leading up to exclusive game coverage of Super Bowl 50. On February 7, 2016, CBS Sports’ broadcast of Super Bowl 50 between Denver and Carolina was watched in all-or-part by a record 167 million viewers, making it the most-watched single broadcast in television history at the time.
During Berson’s tenure at CBS Sports, the division has successfully extended right agreements with several of its partners including most recently the PGA of America for the PGA Championship through 2030. In April 2016, in partnership with Turner Broadcasting, CBS negotiated with the NCAA an eight-year extension of its multimedia rights agreement for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship through 2032. The 2012 deal with the PGA TOUR extended CBS Sports’ broadcast rights through 2021, keeping CBS Sports as the TOUR's dominant broadcast partner. Additionally, rights extensions have been reached for the Army-Navy game through 2028; Big Ten Basketball through the 2022-23 season; along with the acquisition of broadcast rights for men’s college basketball games from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big 12 and Pac-12 Conferences through an agreement with ESPN.
Berson has overseen numerous high-profile CBS Sports on-air talent acquisitions including most recently, Tony Romo, Brad Nessler, Nate Burleson, Bruce Arians, Dottie Pepper and Jim Rome, and actively helps manage talent deals and relationships.
In February 2018, CBS launched CBS SPORTS HQ, a 24-hour streaming sports news digital network in collaboration between CBS Sports and CBS Interactive that allows sports fans to watch live, full-day, anchored coverage of the day’s top sports storylines. Under Berson’s leadership, CBS Sports has more closely aligned and integrated all of its assets including the broadcast network, CBS Sports Network, CBSSports.com and SHOWTIME Sports.
Berson also continues to lead CBS Sports Network, the Company’s fast-growing cable sports channel. Since joining CBS Sports, he has significantly grown CBS Sports Network across all fronts leading to record business results. Berson spearheaded CBS Sports Network’s rebrand (previously CBS College Sports Network) in February 2011 and significantly bolstered the Network’s programming, more than tripling the number of live hours, adding hundreds of live events and launching numerous shows, including: NFL MONDAY QB, the first NFL programming to be featured on the Network; THAT OTHER PREGAME SHOW (TOPS), a four-hour Sunday morning football pre-game show; as well as the news and commentary daily shows TIME TO SCHEIN, BOOMER & GIO, THE JIM ROME SHOW, TIKI and TIERNEY, and the critically-acclaimed first-ever, nationally-televised, all-female primetime sports show, WE NEED TO TALK. CBS Sports Network earned its first-ever Emmy Award in 2012.
Berson also added new programming for CBS Sports Network around CBS Sports’ major events including the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four, Masters and PGA Championship. In addition, he oversaw numerous CBS Sports Network acquisitions of long-term rights including BIG EAST basketball, American Athletic Conference football and basketball, and Conference USA football and men’s basketball. Under Berson’s leadership, CBS Sports became the new exclusive television home of Professional Bull Riders (PBR) with a combined 100 hours of programming annually on CBS and CBS Sports Network.
Prior to joining CBS Sports, Berson co-ran ESPN's programming department and was responsible for programming strategy, scheduling, development and driving audience consumption for all of ESPN's domestic television networks and digital video media platforms. Berson led the programming group through a dynamic period at ESPN and ABC, including the launch of numerous additional networks and multimedia products. Since 2001 when he took over responsibility for programming scheduling and strategy, ESPN networks set record audience levels each year and, in an era of rapid media industry change and proliferation of consumer entertainment options, ESPN ratings grew 34 percent.
The Sports Business Journal ranked McManus and Berson number 12 on their list of the 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business in December of 2017. In January 2006, The Sporting News listed Berson, then 33, on its annual list of "Young & Powerful." In 2007, 2008 and 2009, he was selected as a SportsBusiness Journal "Forty Under 40" recipient and named as a "Forty Under 40 Hall of Famer." In 2007 and 2008, he was listed on BusinessWeek's "The Power 100" ranking of the 100 most powerful people in sports. Berson is a five-time Emmy Award-winner.
Berson is a member of the March of Dimes Sports Luncheon committee and an executive committee member on the UJA-Federation of New York Sports for Youth initiative.
He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and serves on the University’s Sports Management Advisory Board.
* * *