SBD/Issue 245/Sports Industrialists

What I Like... With ESPN Publishing GM & Editorial Dir Gary Hoenig

ESPN Publishing GM &
Editorial Dir Gary Hoenig 
In our continuing series, SportsBusiness Daily/SportsBusiness Journal asks top sports execs for their thoughts, ideas, aspirations and likes. Today, ESPN Publishing GM & Editorial Dir GARY HOENIG.

A business deal: [RUPERT] MURDOCH buying The [Wall Street] Journal and chasing The [N.Y.] Times. In times like this, believing in print takes real nerve.

A story that bears watching: The inevitable flattening of the Internet growth curve.

An insight: We’ve conditioned the public to believe that media is free. If we don’t change that perception, our ad revenues won’t save us.

An influential person in my career: I’ve had many, but the first was my brother-in-law ROBERT HERB, who died young but still had plenty of time to make me want to be like him: a journalist with principles.

A marketing idea: I love it when a marketing idea truly captures the essence of what you’re selling. The whole way that “Gossip Girl” is marketed is pure genius.

A TV ad campaign: Not to be a homer, but the “SportsCenter” ads are near perfect. They capture who we are here and make you want to be part of the team.

A print ad campaign: Grab me visually, but never let me forget what the point is. Nike does a good job.

A brand: Quality of the product is paramount. Never lose sight of that. No one does it better than Apple.

A trend: Staying power. One more word about community, and I’m going back inside my hut and never coming out.

An innovation: Something that actually makes my life better. DVRs, for one.

A business decision: Not shutting down the [Wall Street] Journal’s paid site. Originally, Murdoch was set on doing just that. He’s smart to have changed his mind.

A pro league business initiative: The NHL’s recent moves to make the game better. It is.

A college sports business initiative: Leaving the NCAA tourney alone.

Hoenig Feels Hamilton's 28 HR Performance
At Home Run Derby Was Quite Impressive  
A decision-maker
: PETE CARROLL. Good guy, too.

About my job: Making decisions so quickly, it feels like stopping pucks in a goal mouth.

Sports: Seeing something that you’ve never seen before. Twenty-eight homers in 38 swings [in Home Run Derby]? JOSH HAMILTON qualifies.

Sports journalism: You can cover the whole spectrum of human experience through the metaphor of sports. And people will read it.

Competing in this business: You have to be good to be heard. There are so many competitors. And there is no more knowledgeable audience.

The direction of sports business: The beauty of sports is its spontaneity and unpredictability. The danger is that those who run it want too much control -- and that drains those very qualities.

About myself: I keep trying, no matter how many times I stumble.

Players: Athletes who don’t take themselves too seriously.

Teams: New York Jets, San Francisco Giants (my dad’s team), Knicks (Ouch!
Did I say that out loud?).

City: New Yorker through and through.

Possession: An old Martin D-18 guitar.

Memento: A ball signed by my original Magazine teammates.


Books: Reading “War and Peace,” God save me.

Magazines: New York, New Yorker, Economist, BusinessWeek.

Newspapers: Still read the Times and the Journal on paper. Do wonder why sometimes.

Web sites:,,, Weather Channel, eBay, Yahoo Finance, CNN.



Ideas: This is gonna sound pretentious, but I was a philosophy major for a while, and dialectics is what stayed with me. In brief: Everything is connected.

Hobbies: I collect model trains. You got a problem with that?

Movies: I’ll stick with “The Godfather,” the one that combines I and II.

TV: “Friday Night Lights.” DirecTV, thank you for saving it.

Hoenig Fondly Remembers
Original Cream Concerts Of '60s 
: Saw CLAPTON live with Cream. I’m not talking reunion concert. And, yes, I’m that old.

Dessert: When I can? Anything dark chocolate.

Vacation spot: Hawaii.

Cars: Audi A6.

Aftershave: Neutrogena.

Quote: Great ideas don’t happen from the top down.

Miscellaneous: Now you’re going too far.

What I don’t like in general: Overbearing people.

Pet peeve: Herd mentality.

In sports: People who take the games too seriously.

In business: Short-term thinking.

In journalism: Self-righteousness. Uninformed opinion.

In sports business: Contempt for the fan.

In sports marketing: Thoughtless repetition.

In sports facilities: Too many distractions from the game.

About my job: Not being a part of the storytelling process anymore.

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