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Sports Ad Diversity Interview Series: Bryan Delgado ('12), ESPN Events

Tuesday, March 22 2016 12:12pm

Event Manager at ESPN Events talks about diversity programs at the worldwide leader in sports, and advice for students

Q&A by Kali Krisik (MSA '16)

Can you describe your career path since graduating from Ohio University in 2012? 

Since I left Athens, I’ve had two career stops. I went straight from the program to the Byron Nelson Golf Championship in Dallas, Texas, where I was the Communications Coordinator. I then went just west to DFW with ESPN, where I am now the Event Supervisor.

We work with two bowl games – the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl and the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. This year, I’ve also taken more responsibility with the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program, which ESPN owns and operates. In regards to the bowl games, I’m in charge of marketing and social media plans inside the DFW area, including the creation of collateral, the website, local media relations, and sponsorship activation for all events.

 

 What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity, to me, is much larger than where someone comes from; diversity includes different points of view, different life experiences, and different backgrounds. All of them are needed to be successful in an organization. One of my favorite classes at Ohio University was Organizational Behavior with Dr. Stoner; we learned how to structure teams, how to motivate people, and how to put together and lead an organization.

That’s why diversity is so important. Every person has a back story and different point of view, which helps in sports. We’re trying to entertain individuals and fans from all over the world.

As sports professionals, our goal is to ensure we reach the maximum amount of people and that everyone has a great time at our events, especially at ESPN. It’s important to understand those differences in where people come from, how people communicate, and how they’re motivated to absorb sports.

 

What is your current role and how does diversity impact you and your organization on a daily basis? 

ESPN, which is owned by Disney (a vast multinational corporation), has a very strong diversity program. We are exposed to programs with our colleagues around the world at Disney theme parks, national offices, and corporate headquarters. We go through diversity training and constantly interact with people from different backgrounds, nationalities, languages, and cultures. 

On a daily basis, our Fort Worth office focuses on the two bowl games we primarily cover. One bowl games honors first responders and the other honors the military. Therefore, we have the opportunity to go into the public and establish relationships with those individuals, various corporate sponsors, and different community groups in the Fort Worth area. We have to be able to relate to those groups with the end result of having as many people involved in our events as possible.

Day to day, I could be heading to a golf tournament, lunch meeting, or sponsorship meeting – interacting with individuals from very different ages, backgrounds, and socioeconomics statuses. I feel very lucky to come into contact with so many different types of people and get to learn something new every day.

  

What specific diversity programs does your organization offer?

 We go through diversity training annually and have employee resource groups including diversity action, young professionals, and others. They provide guest speakers, lectures, and leadership opportunities. A lot of those are based in Bristol or New York City where the majority of ESPN employees are located; however, we have the opportunity to conference in, view live-streaming, and learn from a distance. It’s nice for us considering we are far from Connecticut, but they make an effort to include our office and anyone else based outside of Bristol. We also attend various conferences during the year, which provide diverse opportunities and the ability to meet people from around the country.

 

What advice do you have for those looking to get into the sports industry?

Keep an open mind. Obviously, in our politically charged climate today, people are nervous about the direction of the country, and maybe rightfully so. Not everybody looks the same, talks the same, or had the same experiences growing up as you might have had. It’s a big world out there with a lot of people trying to get along and make their way through life.

In the sports world, you must recognize your fans might be completely different depending who you’re playing or the day of the week. You have to be open and able to relate to every one of them. It’s really important to embrace an open mind; it’s the best way to learn.

 

Check out the rest of our Diversity Interview Series:

Kenisha Webb, Just Marketing International

Tara Jackson, UFC

Joseph Watkins, Lincoln University

Martin Graham, Orlando Magic

Leslie Fields, Northern Kentucky University