Connor Schell on the future of ESPN Content’s organization
EDITOR’S NOTE: ESPN Executive Vice President, Content, Connor Schell, issued the following memo to ESPN staff today, reflecting a new structure and responsibilities for individuals within the content team:
As we look to the future of ESPN and the Content organization, it is important to further align the entire Content organization behind a comprehensive and cohesive strategy.
Specifically, we will focus our efforts on the following priorities:
- Producing the best live events in the industry and telling great stories during those events
- Creating the premier consumer experience for all sports fans across our digital platforms
- Launching the New York-based studio shows for our new 2018 lineup
- Continuing the evolution of SportsCenter
- Telling stories that matter and maximizing the impact of our reporting and coverage around them
- Creating high-quality original content for all platforms, for key audiences
With these priorities in mind, I am pleased to announce that the following leaders in the Content organization will now be reporting to me:
The three executives who will collectively drive our editorial voice are Stephanie Druley, Rob King, and Norby Williamson. Their leadership and their teams’ ability to work together are key to our continued success.
Stephanie Druley, SVP, Event & Studio Production, will continue to be responsible for the production of ESPN’s entire Event Production portfolio on a global basis. This encompasses all of our NBA coverage including the NBA Finals, Monday Night Football, all of our MLB coverage, the Tennis majors and our entire portfolio of college sports programming. Additionally, Stephanie remains responsible for NFL Live and NFL Countdown, College GameDay and our other college sports studio programming. She continues to oversee all content production on the SEC Network, Longhorn Network, the future ACC Network as well as all international and Spanish language production efforts.
Rob King, SVP, Original Content, Newsgathering and Digital Media, will now oversee ESPN’s entire portfolio of newsgathering and storytelling assets across television, digital and print including the ESPN App, ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, ESPN Fantasy, ESPNFC, espnW, The Undefeated and FiveThirtyEight. Under Rob’s leadership, ESPN has built the most respected journalism organization in the industry and he will now bring his expertise to all of our storytelling brands including ESPN Films, 30 for 30, OTL, E:60, and the cross-platform features unit. Rob will add oversight of the Stats and Information Group, and will also lead our Editorial Board that will set the tone and direction of ESPN’s content coverage and standards overall. As we look at our new priorities, we are placing in Rob’s hands the editorial direction of the ESPN App, our company’s most important new initiative and future gateway to a growing array of ESPN content. Original content, breaking news, investigative journalism, and storytelling set ESPN apart from our competitors by a wide margin. As we build our new organization, Rob’s creativity, experience and leadership will help guide us forward.
Norby Williamson, EVP and Executive Editor, Studio Production, will oversee Studio Production. As we look to our revised programming schedule in 2018, Norby will lead our efforts in opening our New York studio and launching our new slate of morning and daytime shows. Additionally, Norby will now add the responsibility of overseeing the SportsCenter franchise. There is great benefit in combining the oversight of our daily opinion, talk and news and information shows under one leader. SportsCenter remains our most important individual brand and Norby’s experience and stewardship will allow us to continue to push it forward. Norby will also continue to lead ESPN Audio, the Talent Office, and multi-media sponsorship integration.
My team of direct reports will also now expand to include:
Jodi Markley, EVP, Content Operations & Creative Services, will continue to oversee Remote Event Operations, Production Operations, Creative Services, Studio Directing and the Charlotte Production Facility, the Los Angeles Production Facility and all of our other U.S. production centers. Jodi and her team have done an incredible job innovating around the production of our events and studio content making us both better and more efficient on a daily basis.
Laura Gentile, SVP, Business and Content Operations, will oversee business operations for the Content group serving as the primary point person for the Content organization across ESPN departments. Laura will also help our leadership team shape our overall content strategy across platforms and align our collective resources. Her responsibilities will include oversight of the business affairs function handling division deal-making, co-production and non-program content negotiation and acquisition. Building on everything that she has achieved with espnW over the past several years, Laura will continue to drive the continued growth of espnW and women’s initiatives.
Ryan Spoon, SVP, Social Content, will now move into the Content group to manage the creation of original content for our digital and social channels. In this new role, Ryan will work across ESPN to help define our off platform content strategy and be the point person from the content group managing the relationship with social networks. Ryan’s team will continue to manage the execution for ESPN social accounts. Ryan remains a leader in the digital space and his team will shape our strategy for audience growth moving forward.
This is a talented and accomplished team. I am incredibly excited to work with them and all of you as we move forward.