Not many Fortune 500 companies can say that they allow their interns the opportunity to develop a new idea to pitch in front of top executives, but ESPN’s interns in the Disney Professional Internships Program have had the chance to do so.
Approximately half of ESPN’s summer interns participated in the fourth annual “ESPN: The Pitch” competition, which allows interns to present a new business or programming idea in five minutes or less. This year’s judges included Vice President of Global Security and Facilities Operations, Rick Abbott, Vice President of Content Strategy and Scheduling, John Papa, SportsCenter reporter Will Reeve, Vice President of Content Program and Integration, Carol Stiff, and Senior Vice President of Production, Multimedia Integration and Management Operations, Tina Thornton.
The five finalists – two individuals and three groups – presented a mix of content, product and business concepts, ranging from new show ideas to improvements to smart phone applications. Front Row spoke with this year’s winner of “ESPN: The Pitch,”” Sammy Redmond, minutes after he found out he won. (Proposals are kept in-house for further development by the company.)
Sammy Redmond, Middlebury College senior, American Studies major, Sports Management Intern in New York City
What did the opportunity to present in front of ESPN executives mean to you?
It was a bit nerve wracking, which I think in the end is a great learning experience. Just to be able to stand up in front of people and present an idea is something I haven’t been able to do before. Obviously in school we do presentations, but this is on a whole different scale.
What was your favorite part of “ESPN: The Pitch?”
I got to meet with people from all sides of the business – people who work directly in radio, people who work in sales positions, everyone from content production to sales and marketing. I learned a lot of aspects that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Basically it was an excuse for me to meet with people and pick their brain about my own idea and therefore learn about what they do, so that was the best part.
What was the biggest challenge?
Narrowing down the idea was the biggest challenge. Over the last three weeks I have spoken with a lot of people who had their own input and provided me with a lot of different statistics that would’ve been helpful. I had to kind of synthesize it into an arc that made sense from, “Why am I studying this?” to “What’s the story?” to “How do you make money off of it?”
What’s next for your idea?
It seems like I’ll be able to meet with a couple people next week in New York about how I would continue working with this idea. If they have any intention of working with it, I’m not sure, but I would really love any opportunity in any capacity to work more on this idea. Hopefully those meetings go well and we’ll see where it goes from there.