Since joining ESPN in 2013, Jorge Sedano has consistently demonstrated a curiosity and a willingness to expand his role. Over the past decade, he’s hosted shows – in both English and Spanish – on the ESPN networks and ESPN Radio, been a panelist on Around The Horn, reported on NBA games and handled play-by-play. This month, his latest accomplishments include calling his first college football game on the ESPN networks and reporting his first feature for College GameDay Built by The Home Depot.
A native of South Florida, Sedano discusses his recent ESPN milestones and why the game assignment and opportunity to profile Miami Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal were so personally rewarding to him, especially during Hispanic Heritage Month.
How was the experience reporting your first feature for College GameDay?
Incredible. The features unit assigned the crew led by one of our great feature producers, Luis Aldea. Luis and I had worked on an NBA feature a couple of years ago, so I was pretty excited to reunite with him on a project like this. He’s a pro and being a fellow Latino, there’s no question he was the perfect person to capture the essence of my idea.
How special was it for you to tell Mario Cristobal’s story as a fellow Cuban who grew up in South Florida?
The goal was to tell the story about the city, the culture, the program, and the history in the most authentic way possible. The Cuban exile story is such a unique and relatable one. We reminisced about the early struggles growing up with parents having to acquiesce to a new lifestyle, working multiple jobs, and obviously learning a new language. We discussed all those sacrifices they made in the name of family. Ultimately, you had two Cuban kids hanging out for a couple of days drinking “Cafecito,” talking football and life. It doesn’t get any better than that.
This is your first season calling college football games on TV for ESPN. Is it something you’ve wanted to do for a while?
I am very fortunate that a few important folks around the company believed in me enough to give me some play-by-play reps. It began a couple of years ago with NBA Summer League and G-League games. Then, they were kind enough to give me a shot to call NFL, college football and NBA games on ESPN Radio. Their willingness to allow me to grow in that role last season gave me the confidence to try to expand those duties on to television.
I jumped at the opportunity to call both the Boston College and Miami Spring Games this year on ACC Network. That experience was so much fun. This summer, I was added to the college football schedule for Week 1 for Bethune Cookman at Miami on ACCN with my incredible broadcast partners – Forrest Conolly and Marilyn Payne. The opportunity was a dream come true. We had a blast.
How was your first game in Miami for Coach Cristobal’s Hurricanes opener?
To have the chance to call a game in the city I grew up in, at a stadium I grew up going to, and being there for Mario’s first game was pretty special. After all the prep and rehearsals were done, I took a moment to take it all in. I went down on the field for a bit to really soak in the opportunity. After the game, having a chance to catch up, have a few laughs and an adult beverage with some old friends in the parking lot was definitely a moment I’ll cherish.
Of all the projects you are involved in at ESPN, what are you most proud of?
The initiatives I’m most proud of at the Walt Disney Company/ESPN are the continued efforts toward diversity and inclusion. By no means are we a finished product, but I want other employees to know that there are a lot of people at this company that are willing to lend a hand. I can speak for myself and attest to having numerous productive conversations with the leadership about these subjects.
ESPN is such a big place and it can be overwhelming to navigate. No one has meant more to me in that regard than Freddy Rolon (Sr. VP, Programming & Planning). In no particular order, he’s a mentor, a friend, and a colleague. I know he has been a big reason for the continued efforts to expand our footprint with US Hispanics, but his kindness has been an important part of my personal growth at ESPN. Regardless of who you are and what your background is, I urge employees to find someone that can be that resource for you. I know so many people have aided me in my journey here and I try my best to pay it forward.