Today I had Rick Abbott as a guest speaker in my Sport in a Diverse Society class (can I say guest speakers on the eve of Thanksgiving are the best!). Abbott is the VP of Global Security and Facilities Operations for ESPN where he oversees 4,000 ESPN events worldwide, and most importantly he is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. As someone who usually is critiquing ESPN for one reason or another, I found Abbott fascinating and I learned a great deal. I’ll give you my Top 5 “plays of the day” (i.e., take homes).
1. Every summer ESPN hires 120 interns. Only 5 are offered jobs!The ESPN Campus in Bristol, CT houses 3,500 employees.
2. ESPN pays $1.1 billion to the NFL to be able to use any footage of the NFL they want in their broadcasts.
3. Poker gets a higher viewership (.5) than the WNBA (.3).
4. More women watch the NFL and Men’s College Basketball than the WNBA. Abbott wasn’t sure many males watch the WNBA, which is what research audience reception tells us.
5. ESPN will launch an “ESPN W” to try and capture the high school girls market. I can’t wait to see what this looks like! It will come out of the ESPN Rise brand.
He also had three great pieces of advice for the students. First, don’t gossip it is a career killer. Second, you never know who you’ll meet that will lead to a job…you are always interviewing for a job. Third, sometimes you have to take risks, go backwards, and make hard choices in your career to get where you want to be…don’t play it safe.