THE SPORTS ENTREPRENEURS
American Sports Broadcasting Nomad
Sandy Brown, another true American Sports Nomad, especially in the Media and Broadcasting space. Listen to amazing stories of Sandy’s globe trotting career around the world from ProServ, NBA, ESPN/Star Sports, Univision, ONE World Sports and more.
- Growing up playing tennis, made connections through his Tennis Club in Delaware
- How he got started at ProServ, first meeting with Donald Dell, driving his limo around the airport
- Dennis Spencer one of his early mentors (shout out to one of the nicest guys in the industry)
- Pro-Serve, top roster of Tennis and NBA players, tennis tournaments – peak of company
- Before Sportel Monaco days, MIP TV and MIP Com , flogging sports TV rights in Cannes
- Next stop NBA, international TV rights – David Stern his next mentor, early days as Commissioner (know your business better than anyone else was his mantra)
- CCTV story. Happened to me before as well
- ESPN Asia, move to Hong Kong – at the age of 28 (1992)
- Birth of Cable industry in Asia, Satellite distribution just started – DTH business across the region
- US content as a start and Monday night Premier League matches
- Creative deal making in China
- Merger of ESPN Asia and Star Sports in Asia (Murdoch) (new set up in Singapore) – Managing Director of new JV
- Big change in broadcast landscape and shock for Rights holders and agencies
- Two different corporate cultures working together, very focused on turning a loss making entity to break even
- ESPN had carriage fees, Star Sports was free for platform owners (Advertising driven)
- Exploits in India, cable operators in India are another level (try to visualize it) – Chris McDonald/Manu Sawhney (wild west of India, machine guns, etc)
- ARPU blend discussion – penny a sub in China, 5 cent in India to 1 dollar in SEA and Taiwan – retail rate of partners
- Disney/ESPN recently shut the entire network structure down after acquiring FOX Sports globally a few years before, about 30 years later
- Next stop CNBC Asia (NBC Universal) – learning the GE culture, Jack Welsh as CEO
- Business News different thing
- After 15 years, time to come back to the US – biggest take away, working with great people makes the difference
- Univision – President of Sports – launching a domestic US cable sports channel focused on Hispanic population – bringing in new ideas and concepts, pushing Rights holders to new grounds
- ONE World Sports – new platform targeting Asian diaspora in the US (Seamus O’Brien behind the venture)
- From two affiliate deals, pushed up to 70
- Lots of live content, Chinese Super League, KHL (Russian Ice-hockey), ECB (English Cricket), European Football Club Channels, Table Tennis, etc
- Alternative to ESPN, heavy promotions and support to rights holders to market their product in the US
- Eventually shareholders decided to sell the business – to ELEVEN
- Commissioner of Major League Lacrosse – turn around situation, difficult set up with owners and commercial structure
- League had been around for 20 years, lots of cleaning up to do
- Competitive League shows up (PLL), plus Covid gets in the way
- Merging with PLL now, handing it over, winding up MLL
- Poshando Inc – starting his own consulting business just recently (back in Baltimore)
- Final thoughts on Broadcasting/Streaming industry currently, subscription models (Netflix), investor expectations vs industry realities (ARPU blend vs Sub growth) –
- quality of subscribers
- cost of acquisition of subs (cost of broadcast rights
Alexander P. Brown joined Major League Lacrosse in February 2018. Since taking the helm, Brown has drastically improved the experience and opportunity for players, teams and fans. During his tenure, he has restructured the ownership group, rebranded the league marks and reacquired the league’s media rights, leading to exponential growth in nationally televised reach. In 2019, Brown welcomed ten new partners to the league, introduced a creative and sophisticated digital team (generating 194% growth in social traffic, 97% growth in social engagement and 393% growth in web traffic) and achieved a 16% increase in total attendance year-over-year.
During the 2020 COVID impacted year, Brown oversaw the most successful year in MLL’s history in terms of overall engagement, generating over 150mm digital impressions over an eight (8) day tournament. Further, the league’s impressions on ESPN and ESPN + increased by 150% and 1600%, respectively.
Brown is an accomplished executive with over 25 years of leadership experience who has spearheaded the launch and growth of multiple sports media outlets. Most recently, he was the President/CEO of One World Sports, where he launched the HD channel across both linear and digital platforms to over 50 million US subscribers through cable and satellite distributors as well as over-the-top (OTT) platforms.
In 2010, Brown became President of Univision Sports, the leading media outlet for Spanish-speaking Americans, where he created and launched Univision Deportes to over 15 million US homes. As part of this effort, Brown oversaw the rebranding of Univision Sports. Additionally, he not only supervised the production of the highest rated primetime sports broadcast in the channel’s history at the time with the Mexico vs. Honduras match in the 2011 Gold Cup, but he developed Univision’s nightly version of SportsCenter, “Univision Deportes Extra” or “UDX” as well as the network’s signature soccer pregame program, “Futbol Central”.
Brown has extensive experience in the international markets. Based in Hong Kong and Singapore, he launched ESPN’s business in Asia while serving as the Managing Director of both ESPN Asia and ESPN Star Sports. Brown’s international work in sports began in the late 1980’s when he was hired by the NBA to oversee their international television interests in over 100 countries.
Brown played lacrosse collegiately at Washington and Lee University and represented the university in the 1985 USILA North South Game.