Behind The Scenes

ESPN nets Broadcaster of the Year honor for fifth consecutive time

ESPN's Jed Drake, senior vice president and executive producer, Production

Tuesday night in Las Vegas, ESPN was named Broadcaster of the Year at the 55th New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards, having won the most medals – 62, including 20 Golds.

The competition includes networks, production companies, advertising agencies and others from more than 50 countries around the world. It was the fifth consecutive time ESPN was named Broadcaster of the Year.

ESPN also won a prestigious Grand Award, for the open to the 2011 Indy 500. Grand Awards are selected from among all the Gold Medal winners. Only three were selected for this special honor. In addition to that race telecast’s six medals, ESPN’s leading entrants were E:60 and Outside the Lines.

In addition, sports television legend and longtime friend of ESPN, Geoff Mason, received the lifetime achievement award. A former top executive at ABC Sports and NBC Sports, Geoff also served seven years as executive producer of ESPN International and was the producer of ESPN’s ground-breaking telecasts of the 1987 America’s Cup from Australia.

He has more than 40 years of domestic and international production experience. His credits include seven Olympic Games, six World Cups, multiple America’s Cup regattas and the recent men’s and women’s FIFA World Cup tournaments on ESPN networks. He continues to contribute to ESPN’s efforts in production, including the X Games, this summer’s UEFA European Football Championship and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

About 20 ESPNers were in attendance, and this was definitely news that did not stay in Vegas. Larry Kristiansen, vice president, production, coordinates ESPN’s involvement with the New York Festivals and says the reaction to the announcement of Broadcaster of the Year was a great moment.

“A big cheer went up,” he says. “Everybody was really proud. It was a great night to be an ESPN employee.”

Kristiansen explains the special nature of the New York Festivals competition: “There is a very international flavor to the competition, and we are there with the best of the best representing every facet of the medium — not just sports or entertainment, but news and documentaries and promotions.”

In accepting the night’s top honor, Broadcaster of the Year, Jed Drake, senior vice president and executive producer, production, didn’t have to go far to explain ESPN’s success to the audience, according to Kristiansen.

“Jed read the back of his business card….the ESPN mission to serve fans. He said that’s the basis for our success. We shoot for excellence in everything we do.”

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