This week in the sports media and marketing ecosystem, ESPN hires Jeff Passan away from Yahoo to be the Schefter of baseball, Disney appoints a new CTO of its Streaming and International Division, and the World Surf League hires a President of Content and Media for WSL Studios.
For job openings and more on who’s moving where, check out the Hashtag Sports Weekly roundup.
ESPN Poaches Jeff Passan from Yahoo to Make Him the Adam Schefter of Baseball
ESPN has announced the hiring of Jeff Passan who’s spent the past decade-plus with Yahoo. The company plans for him to be its top breaking-news insider on MLB. He is set to begin after the new year and will be asked to be as prolific as Schefter and Wojnarowski, ESPN’s top insiders in their respective sports. Passan is expected to make appearances on TV, but will not be featured on game broadcasts right away.
Disney Appoints ESPN’s CTO to Lead Streaming and International Division
Disney’s tapping into its subsidiary, ESPN, to hire Aaron LaBerge as the first CTO of its newly formed Direct-To-Consumer and International segment, reporting to chairman Kevin Mayer. LaBerge previously served as ESPN’s EVP and chief technology officer, where he lead the design and development of the sports programmer’s next-generation data, video and audio platforms. The DTCI businesses include all Disney networks outside of the U.S.; ESPN+; the Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service; and Hulu.
World Surf League Hires President of Content, Media, and WSL Studios
The World Surf League has announced the hiring of Erik Logan, who will join the team as president of content, media, and WSL Studios. In this role, Logan will lead the growth of their content offering, which includes the creation of WSL Studios and all live and non-live content and media, in addition to global distribution across all of the WSL’s owned and operated channels. WSL is also developing a DTC membership offering, a key part of their portfolio that he will also be responsible for. Logan is currently serving as the president of the Oprah Winfrey Network, which he’s been instrumental in transforming into one of the top cable networks. He will begin his new role at the WSL in January 2019.
Johnny Miller, NBC’s Lead Golf Analyst to Retire
After 29 years as NBC’s highest-profile golf commentator, Johnny Miller is set to retire. Miller, who’s been their lead analyst since 1990, will be replaced by Paul Azinger. Azinger’s situation is interesting because he will remain in his current role on Fox Sports’ broadcasts of the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open, while also filling the seat vacated by Miller at NBC. The announcement has drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez’s current setup as a baseball analyst for both ESPN and Fox.
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