Former ESPN, Cap Cities/ABC Exec Jim Allegro Dies at Age 88

Jim Allegro Robin Roberts
Former ESPN exec Jim Allegro with Robin Roberts (Image credit: ESPN)

James J. Allegro, executive VP and CFO of ESPN from 1990 to 1995 died New Years Eve in St. Augustine, Florida. He was 88.

Before joining ESPN, Allegro held a variety of senior finance and operations posts at Capital Cities/ABC, which was acquired by The Walt Disney Co. 

Allegro helped create ESPN2, The ESPYs, and ESPN Radio, extending the ESPN brand.

Allegro was most proud of his role in founding The V Foundation, named after coach Jim Valvano. Dedicated to cancer research, the V Foundation has raised more than $310 million for grants. Allegro was a board director emeritus for the foundation until his death.

“In many ways, the multi-platform leader ESPN is today took shape during those years; as a result, his impact on how fans consume sports is significant,” ESPN said. “A large and engaging presence, he was a man of deep faith and great integrity, and his genuine concern for others was evident – as was his wonderful sense of humor.”

Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts remembered Allegro in a tweet, saying that she bonded with Allegro because he had a military background like her dad. “They didn’t demand respect but commanded it by their mere presence,” she said.

“A memory that stay with me is when I had a cancer scare while at ESPN. I returned from the doctor’s appointment and told Jim I was okay. He gave me the biggest hug that I can still feel to this day,” Roberts said.

Jim Allegro ESPN

(Image credit: ESPN)

Allegro was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, to first-generation Italian immigrants. He and his brother were the first in their family to go to college. He won a full football scholarship to the College of the Holy Cross and was designated a Holy Cross Iron Man by The Boston Globe.

He became a U.S. Marine, attended officer candidate school in Quantico, Virginia, and played football for the Marine Corps’ team.

Allegro was married for 37 years to his wife Lesley, a former ABC executive. He was father to seven children and leaves 14 grandchildren.

A visitation will be held at St. Anastasia Catholic Church in St. Augustine, Florida (5205 A1A S.) on Thursday, January 12, 2023, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday, January 13, 2023, at 11 a.m. flowers are gratefully declined but memorial donations (remembrances) may be made to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, 14600 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513 or ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.