In its first 36 years, ESPN has achieved a preeminent position among U.S. sports media companies. That all started with the introduction of sports TV 24/7 back in 1979, ESPN Radio in 1992, the first true sports website with the first iteration of ESPN.com in 1995, and the biggest and best of all sports magazines, ESPN The Magazine in 1998.
ESPN’s secret? We are never satisfied with our existing position. Instead, we use ingenuity, teamwork and a perpetual emphasis on high quality to chart new courses first and best. As we look ahead, huge new opportunities exist for our content – specifically in mobile distribution to reach a worldwide audience of fans.
We announced changing duties for some of our dynamic leaders in key digital and print roles. We did so for the same reasons we have over the 20-year history of ESPN.com: We want to attack today’s challenges and opportunities as we would if we were starting today. We do not want our legacy, our traditional approaches (however successful they have been) to keep us from being as aggressive as any newcomer we face. And we believe in making changes when we are No. 1.
We see a significant opportunity to bring our content to fans around the world – both what we produce here in the U.S. and what we create in our International offices. We are asking Patrick Stiegman to help us supercharge those efforts.
We think we can redefine how we create a smartphone-first content effort – combining personalization, journalism, video and personality. Chad Millman is the perfect person for that role.
We believe in dynamic leaders and entrusting them with more:
Alison Overholt has done a terrific job as the Editor-in-Chief for espnW. Now she gets the opportunity to lead ESPN The Magazine in addition to espnW. Alison takes over at a time when ESPN The Magazine just ranked No. 1 in the MPA’s (The Association of Magazine Media’s) measurement of full-year brand audience.
Since he joined us in the summer of 2012, Ryan Spoon has distinguished us through his passion, innovative approaches and product acumen. Thus, it is a natural step to create, under Ryan, a new Audience Development unit (to be run by Nate Ravitz) to bring our Content and Tech teams closer together, all to the benefit of our audience.
There is a reason ESPN has been No. 1 for so long – it is the quality of our people and the power of their collaboration. The success of everything we do ultimately rests on the teamwork of our leaders.
Change is never easy – and those who work in ESPN Digital + Print Media have gotten used to it – but being willing to make changes has made us better and better. As much as Alison, Patrick, Chad and Ryan and their teams have already achieved, I believe the best is to come for them and for ESPN.