EVP Sales & Marketing, ESPN, Inc.
Sean Bratches was promoted to executive vice president, sales and marketing for ESPN on October 6, 2005. Formerly president, Disney and ESPN Networks affiliate sales and marketing, Bratches now oversees all affiliate sales, advertising sales, research, marketing, consumer products and special events. This brings into one division ESPN’s two primary revenue streams, affiliate and advertising sales, supported by marketing, research and client support services.
Specifically in this role, Bratches leads a sales and marketing team that provides national advertisers access to the premier media and marketing platforms and content under the ESPN umbrella which includes the company’s six domestic cable television networks, ABC Sports, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Outdoors, ESPN Radio, ESPN International and Mobile ESPN. Bratches also oversees the first unified sales organization that represents The Walt Disney Company’s premier collection of sports assets across all media platforms.
In addition, Bratches oversees all distribution, licensing, marketing and local advertising sales for the domestic cable and satellite networks of The Walt Disney Company to its multi-channel affiliates. These assets include: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD, ESPNEWS HD, ESPNU HD, ABC Family, ABC Family HD, Disney Channel, Disney Channel HD, SOAPnet, Disney XD (formerly Toon Disney) and Disney XD HD. He also is responsible for the domestic distribution of related HDTV, broadband, video-on-demand, subscription video-on-demand, interactive television, pay-per-view, Spanish-language, and sports syndication products.
Bratches is also responsible for ESPN’s marketing efforts which include the development, direction and implementation of all branding, creative services and marketing for ESPN’s growing media businesses, encompassing television, mobile, print, radio, the Internet, consumer products and all outdoor advertising. This includes the oversight of the company’s award-winning “This is SportsCenter” marketing campaign.
He also oversees ESPN’s research and analytics group, which serves as a vital link between the company’s strategic planning of new products and services and constantly shifting marketplace dynamics as well as the company’s special event marketing department.
Bratches serves on the ESPN Board of Directors. He reports directly to George Bodenheimer, Co-Chairman, Media Networks, The Walt Disney Company, and President ESPN and ABC Sports.
Under Bratches’ leadership, ESPN has become the industry leader in creating affiliate value by strategically leveraging its core brand, while creatively integrating a number of high-profile brand extensions; among them, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN Outdoors/B.A.S.S., ESPN owned events and the ESPN Zone, ESPN’s sports-themed dining and entertainment complexes.
Through his leadership ESPN’s newer, emerging networks and products have achieved record-setting growth:
ESPN2 became the fastest cable network in history to reach 90 million homes -- and is now available in over 98 million homes.
ESPN Classic now reaches more than 63 million homes, compared to its 6.5 million homes when purchased by ESPN in 1997, and ESPNEWS in seen in over 55 million homes.
ESPN360.com launched as the first broadband service available to affiliates and is in close to 25 million homes.
ESPN HD is available to over 96 million homes and ESPN2 HD is available to over 89 million homes.
Bratches joined ESPN in October 1988 as an account executive and within a year was promoted to senior account executive. In December 1992, he was named director, northeast region, before being promoted to vice president, eastern division in January 1995. He was promoted to senior vice president, affiliate sales and marketing in December 1998. Bratches was then promoted to executive vice president, ESPN affiliate sales and marketing in 2001 and most recently served as president, Disney and ESPN Networks affiliate sales and marketing.
Prior to joining ESPN, Bratches was a regional sales manager for Storer Television Sales, Inc., where he was responsible for selling national spot advertising for the company’s seven owned and operated television stations across the country.
He is the chairman of the CTAM Board of Directors and sits on its Executive Committee. He served as co-chair for the 2005 CTAM Conference, the 2001 CTAM Broadband Conference, and the organization’s pre-Western Show panel in 2000. Bratches also serves on the WICT Board, and is an officer and on the Board of Directors for the T. Howard Foundation. He also serves on the board of The Cable Center based in Denver, Colorado.
Bratches has received two Vanguard Awards, the cable industry’s most prestigious award, presented by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. In 2009 he was awarded the Vanguard for Marketing and in 2001 he was recognized with the Vanguard for Young Leadership.
In 2009 CableFax Magazine inducted Bratches into the CableFAX Sales Hall of Fame. He has been listed in the CableFAX 100 featuring “cable’s 100 heavy hitters” since 1999 and in recent years, has been listed in the top 20. He was also recently named one of the top 50 most powerful people in sports by the Sports Business Journal.
Bratches was graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1984 with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration. In 2008, he was inducted into the RIT Sports Hall of Fame for lacrosse and distinguished service.