Editor’s Note: Front Row occasionally will feature quick interviews or “Fast Breaks” with members of the ESPN universe. Sean Hanrahan, a Senior VP of MarketingSolutions, recently gave Front Row a glimpse into what his job involves, what’s on his bucket list, and where he’d most enjoy front-row seats.
Front Row: When people learn that you work for ESPN, how do you describe what you do?
Hanrahan: I run a group called Marketing Solutions that lives in the ad sales group. My group’s job is figuring out how to connect advertisers with content. Connect brands with fans. That’s the signoff on the presentations that we do.
Front Row: Among the things you do is help market ESPN’s 3D’s ventures to advertisers. Are there some products that might surprisingly have a 3D campaign in the works, say like food products or furniture?
Hanrahan: Somehow I’ve become the unofficial spokesperson for [ESPN’s] 3D advertising [chuckles]. We are believers in it and how fast it’s going to be adapted. My comments about 3D advertising are similar to what we said about HD five years ago, and we’re equally bullish. 3D’s adaptability has far exceeded expectations. It’s definitely the future and we need to be there.
But because 3D is in such infancy, we have not had a tremendous amount of 3D commercials to date. For advertisers, it’s costly. . . . At this point, we haven’t been inundated with 3D commercials. For some advertisers, being there first matters because there’s news value in that.
Front Row: What’s your favorite sports event to watch in 3D?
Hanrahan: The most interesting sport for me to watch in 3D is really golf, and of course we’ve got The Masters coming up. Now you can see the undulations on the greens, see the break with the players are lining up putts. We did some test footage with some [golfers], had them lining up putts. We did some test footage of guys. A guy hits that sand shot, you can see the sand coming out of the set.
Front Row: How was your NCAA tourney bracket?
Hanrahan: Disaster. I had Pitt winning it all. I thought this was the year [Panthers head coach] Jamie Dixon would get them all together.
Front Row: What’s tops on your bucket list?
Hanrahan: An African safari is on the bucket list. It’s a fascinating continent. People I’ve known that have taken it rave about the Serengeti plains. So a trip to Africa is on the bucket list. I missed going to the World Cup this past year, so I’m hoping for Rio in 2014. [Also] probably playing golf at Augusta. We send a group every year and there’s a lottery to play the course on Monday. I’m not going this year, but it could happen [someday].
Front Row: If you could have front row seats to any event, historic, fictional, sports or otherwise, what would you choose?
Hanrahan: In the sports world, I’d go back to Super Bowl III where [New York Jets quarterback] Joe Namath beat the Colts. I loved the Jets then.
My son said to me, “You made me a Mets, Jets and Notre Dame fan, so I’m not going to see anybody win anything in my lifetime.” I said, “Now you know why misery loves company. ”
Other than that, I’d have love to have seen [President John F.] Kennedy’s inauguration, the “ask not what your country can do for you” speech, the first Catholic president. That’s off the board for one hundred dollars for that one, Alex!