Forward/Rewind: Revisiting some examples of ESPN’s teamwork in 2014

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Editor’s Note: With this multi-week series — the Front Row Forward/Rewind, 2015/2014 — ESPN’s Communications Department takes the pulse of content executives and their properties throughout ESPN for views on what transpired in 2014 and a glimpse into 2015. It was a monster year for ESPN, with the success of the World Cup; the phenomenal launch of the SEC Network; the opening of Digital Center 2, the new home for SportsCenter and NFL Studio shows; and so much more. We can never encapsulate all the amazing things ESPN did this year, but the Forward/Rewind does its best to recognize the moments we’ll all remember.



1. NFL

Senior Coordinating Producer Seth Markman: “[Covering] Super Bowl XLVIII was a daunting challenge. We knew having this event in New York would be unlike any Super Bowl we’d covered before – two states, cold weather, a city like New York, where it’s not quite the center of attention it might be in other cities. Our group just really came together and made it work in a very successful way across all departments.”

Commentators (l to r) Chris Mortensen, Chris Berman, Mike Ditka, Keyshawn Johnson, Cris Carter, Tom Jackson and Adam Schefter on the set of Sunday NFL Countdown during Super Bowl week. (Ben Solomon/ESPN Images)
Commentators (l to r) Chris Mortensen, Chris Berman, Mike Ditka, Keyshawn Johnson, Cris Carter, Tom Jackson and Adam Schefter on the set of Sunday NFL Countdown during Super Bowl week. (Ben Solomon/ESPN Images)

2. E:60

Executive Producer Andy Tennant: “Teaming up with ESPNBoston.com on a cross-platform initiative with on-the-ground reporting and in-the-moment storytelling for the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing was a highlight for E:60 in 2014. What resulted was the masterful ‘Dream On: Stories of Boston’s Strongest.’ The collaboration produced memorable content for sports fans on SportsCenter, ESPN.com, ABC, ESPN The Magazine, ESPNW, and social media.”

Tom Brady provides voice-overs for the Dream On special. (Ben Houser / ESPN)
Tom Brady provided voice-overs for the Dream On special. (Ben Houser/ESPN)

3. ESPN Digital & Print Media

Jenifer Janovy, deputy editor, Enterprise/Investigations: The Digital & Print enterprise/investigative unit delivered on our mission of finding great stories and telling them everywhere. With a one-team approach, we sought to maximize the quality and value of ESPN’s enterprise storytelling, deliver excellent content on all available platforms and engage as wide an audience as possible.”

4. NASCAR

Vice President, Motorsports, Production, Rich Feinberg: “I think the best example of the teamwork is how, under the circumstances of knowing this was our final year of event coverage of NASCAR, we were able to maintain the quality of our coverage that both the industry and our fans would expect. And, in my opinion, while part of it was due to the new Chase scenario and rules, we were actually able to elevate our coverage and storytelling to an even more exciting level.”

5. espnW

Vice President, espnW, Laura Gentile: “The espnW: Women + Sports Summit is the ultimate example of teamwork by everyone who works on espnW. The Summit gets better with each iteration, and it’s a testament to the hard work, collaboration and passion the group puts into it.”

6. ESPN International

Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Russell Wolff: “Collaboration and teamwork have never been more evident or impactful across our company than during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. So many folks from so many areas across the company made our coverage around the world a favorite of fans.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqxsa3qVIxU

7. SportsCenter

Senior Vice President, SportsCenter and News, Rob King:The DC-2 launch reinforced that ESPN is a place of unmatched imagination, entrepreneurial spirit and collaboration. The new facility isn’t nearly as impressive or inspiring as the people – all of them, really — who worked together to make it a reality.”

8. Soccer

Senior Vice President, Production Innovation, Jed Drake: “As Brazil’s national team was getting crushed on the field during the first half of the Brazil versus Germany semifinal match, we were trying to deal with a deluge of rain coming down in minutes, which took a good part of our operation down for a period of time. At halftime, our viewers were greeted with an uncommon site – [commentator] Mike Tirico and [soccer analyst] Alexi Lalas live from our voice-over room, better known to most as ‘the Bob Ley panic room.’ The studio had been shut down due to electrical problems caused by the massive storm. By the end of the game, all hands were on deck as we had everything back up and running again in the studio to do our post-game shows, World Cup Tonight and the ‘Last Call’ segments. Teamwork was the hallmark of this group.”

9. Golf

Vice President, Production, Mike McQuade: “For The Open Championship, you have so many different departments coming together for four days. Not only people from different sports on the Event Production side, but also Studio, Creative Services, Radio, all coming together for the only golf we produce all year.”

Andy Hall/ESPN
Maddy Foust, Content Integration Producer & Relief Assistant Director, worked on ESPN’s Open Championship coverage. (Andy Hall/ESPN)

10. X Games

Vice President, X Games Events and Content, Tim Reed: “Being able to bring the world’s top street skaters to ESPN’s Bristol (Conn.) campus for the Game of Skate event was very rewarding, and a great testament of the teamwork for all involved. Though most Bristol employees don’t have the opportunity to touch the X Games events up close and personal, several groups ranging from ESPN Security to ESPN Facilities to Event Production were tremendously helpful in making the event a success.”

11. ESPN Fantasy and Insider

Andrew Feldman, editorial product manager: “For our #MockDraftMonday initiative, members of the ESPN Fantasy and Insider teams, along with TV personalities, NFL Nation contributors and many more join together every Monday in August to draft fantasy teams with our fans. The promotion was featured heavily on social, but also spanned to ESPN Radio and TV with great synergy across the board.”
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A sampling of ESPN's most-watched events in 2014
The following represents the most-viewed events for several of ESPN’s sports properties in 2014:

*CFB Postseason: BCS Championship: FSU-Auburn, 1/6; 14.4 U.S. rating.

*NFL: MNF Washington at Dallas, 10/27; 11.4.

*Soccer: FIFA World Cup, Group Stage Match, USA vs. Portugal, 6/22; 9.6 – the most-watched soccer match in the U.S. ever, men’s or women’s.

*CFB Regular Season: Auburn at Alabama, 11/29; 7.4.

*NBA Postseason: Miami at Indiana, Game 2, 5/20; 4.9.

*MLB Postseason: NL Wild Card Game: S.F. at Pittsburgh, 10/1; 3.6.

*MLB: Home Run Derby, 7/14; 3.4.

*Men’s CBB: Duke at Syracuse, 2/1; 2.9.

*Women’s CBB: National Championship, Notre Dame vs. UConn, 4/8; 2.8.

*NBA, Regular Season: Cleveland at Chicago, 10/31; 2.4.

*MLB, Regular Season: Boston at N.Y. Yankees, 4/13; 1.8.

*Tennis: Wimbledon Men’s Final, Djokovic vs. Federer, 7/6; 1.6.

Ratings data according to Nielsen

Bill Hofheimer, Allison Stoneberg, Carrie Kreiswirth, Andy Hall, Tara Chozet, Paul Melvin, Ardi Dwornik, Dan Quinn, Mac Nwulu, Kristie Chong, Danny Chi and Dave Nagle contributed to this post.

Next: Milestones

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