Inside ESPN’s innovation team

ESPN has positioned itself as a leader in sports media, and now more than ever, it is also considered a leader in technology.

From the early days of ESPN3, to the launch of ESPN 3D, to being one of the first out of the gate with authenticated networks on WatchESPN, embracing emerging platforms long before they have proliferated has been at the core of what ESPN does best — serving fans whenever and wherever they consume content.

That forward thinking is what drives ESPN’s Technology division and its use of the Research & Development lab located in Building 13.

In the video above, Front Row sat down with the Innovation team led by vice president Rob Hunter along with senior director of content systems Tony Gentile, and associate director of project development Andrew Budd to learn more about how the “Hacker Lab” works and how the company fosters idea generation.

In addition to the Hacker Lab, employees are showcasing in the ESPN Digital & Print Media’s 3rd Annual ESPN Global Hackathon taking place in Bristol today.

The event has helped to inspire new development within the digital space, including the SportsCenter Feed.

For extra measure, this year’s winning product will be set as a digital priority and will be built in 2013. The winning Hackathon group will go on to work with digital and print media operations senior director Karen Lee, API program director Chris Jason and senior director and managing editor of college sports and recruiting David Albright to develop the product immediately.

In the 2011 ESPN Hackathon, more than 50 hackers making up 15 teams spread across Bristol, New York, Seattle and Bangalore competed for trophies and prizes awarded by a panel of judges comprised of top ESPN executives.

Video produced by ESPN Communications