- Insider highlights the most influential sports media figures set to transform the industry in 2022.
- The list includes executives from mainstream outlets like ESPN and studios driving the explosion of original sports content.
- It also features leaders from key startups like Overtime, Meadowlark Media and Just Women’s Sports.
In the rapidly evolving media landscape, sports programming and the athletes that power it are becoming more powerful than ever.
“Live sports content no longer only plays a key strategic role in the pay-TV linear package, but also plays a growing role in the broadcast ecosystem as sports rights become an increasingly important driver. most important driver of subscriber acquisition and retention for streaming services,” Chris Vollmer, managing director of consultancy MediaLink, told Insider via email.
But sports don’t end in the final score. Sports coverage has moved with the digital age through social media, documentaries, and podcasts.
“There are many things that can be done with sports IP to attract viewers, subscribers and fans that go beyond the live game,” Vollmer said.
As the industry transforms, Insider highlights the most influential business leaders innovating in sports media. We received nominations for this list from readers and industry experts.
The final list includes established leaders like ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro, as well as challengers like Marie Donoghue, an ESPN alum who is now revolutionizing the sports landscape at Amazon, who landed the exclusive rights to “Thursday Night Football.”
There are also rising stars, leaders whose companies may not be valued in the same way as traditional networks, but who are making their way into the growing sports demographic, like Overtime co-founders Dan Porter and Zack Weiner and the founder of Just Women’s Sports, Haley Rosen.
Athletes have also claimed their place on the list as more have gotten into the business side of sports media. They include LeBron James, who teamed up with his manager Maverick Carter to create The SpringHill Company, which was valued in its last round of financing at 725 million dollars.
The sports media space is huge. The Insider list shows headlines from networks, publishing, entertainment, and video and audio production companies. Many of these executives rely heavily on the actions of sports leagues, whose marketing and media rights decisions provide the foundation for sports media.
There are several emerging categories not included in the Insider list, such as NIL and NFT, that could shake up the world of sports media but with as yet undetermined impact. There’s also a lot of innovation at the intersection of sports media and gaming, which Insider has highlighted in a separate list.
Here are 24 top leaders, listed alphabetically by company, who made Insider’s list of the most influential sports media business figures of 2022: