Mixing business, fun at ‘Show’

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CHICAGO — This week, programmers and cable operators are meeting for The Cable Show, a convention hosted by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

Big themes of the show included TV Everywhere, new and faster methods of digital distribution and the overall value of a cable subscription.

But it’s not all meetings and panels.

As is standard for The Cable Show, programmers and affiliates like to take the opportunity to mix some fun along with the business at hand, which included a visit to Chicago’s famed Wrigley Field on Tuesday evening.

ESPN was host to clients on one of the rooftops overlooking Wrigley for the Cubs versus Brewers game — the Cubs won 5-4 in 10 innings.

While threatening clouds loomed, it turned out to be a beautiful night in the Windy City. Clients were able to watch the game, mingle with others in the industry, and check out iPads featuring WatchESPN. There were also special 3D televisions airing ESPN 3D.

There were even a few legends in attendance, including NFL running back and Heisman Trophy Winner Ricky Williams and Hall of Fame pitcher Goose Gossage. Current University of Texas basketball coach Rick Barnes also stopped by to talk about the launch of the Longhorn Network on August 26.

David Preschlack, Executive Vice President, Affiliate Sales and Marketing and native of Chicago, said: “The Cable Show is a yearly tradition for the cable industry. It’s changed a lot over the years, but it is a great break from the day to day to spend some
time with clients and fellow programmers and catch up on the latest trends in the industry. There is incredible value from having all of the leaders of our industry in one place at the same time.”

ESPN made several announcements during the show, including one about new programming for ESPN 3D, a new block on ESPN Classic called ESPN Films on Classic and a programming slate for the soon-to-be-launched Longhorn Network.

Several ESPN executives appeared on panels throughout the conference including Chuck Pagano, Gary Perelli, David Preschlack, Chris LaPlaca and Sean Bratches, whose panel anchored a session that was opened by Chicagoan Oprah Winfrey on the final day of the show.

ESPN President George Bodeheimer also conducted several interviews with media, including this one with Fox Business News.

During the show, ESPN was recognized by WICT (Women in Cable Television) with a Signature Accolade in the Documentary/Biographical Series or Special category for Her Story: Ten Times Over.

The documentary told the story of a young Nigerian-American, Mobi Akiode, who quit her “dream job” as a junior accountant at ESPN, in the middle of an economic recession. She moved 5,000 miles to Lagos, Nigeria. Her goal: to use sports, particularly basketball camps, to inspire and empower impoverished young women.

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