SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Game Changers

Game Changers: Hillary Mandel

GLADYS MEDAGLIA
Family plays a starring role in Mandel’s life, right down to her coffee mug.
Hillary Mandel
IMG Media
SVP, programming and distribution

At a time when international barriers are being routinely broken down, Hillary Mandel is at the forefront of presenting sports programming worldwide. As senior vice president of programming and distribution at IMG Media, Mandel in the past year has been influential in selling Wimbledon’s rights package to the multiple platforms of ESPN and bringing the Rugby World Cup to NBC and network television for the first time. She also had a hand in securing for the ACC its rights deal with ESPN as well as the renewal for Izod IndyCar Series with ESPN.

An IMG employee since 1997, Mandel says her background as both a buyer and seller provides her a wealth of knowledge when brokering negotiations.

“It’s becoming apparently clear that there is a lot of desire for live sports,” said Mandel about the current state of rights fees in the market. “The popularity of the major sports is leaving a large wake for the niche sports.”

— Ryan Baucom
  • First job: HBO, as a researcher in programming.
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever received?: There is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting.
  • In 10 words or less, how would you describe your management style?: Respectful and passionate, inclusive and collaborative, we win and lose together.
  • Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: Barry Frank. He gave me the opportunity; a seat at the table with total access. He’s been an unwavering champion and endorser of my ability and success.
  • Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Pat Summitt. She’s shattered the record book in terms of championships, season wins and trips to the Final Four. The personal strength and will it takes to restart that engine every year and continuing to strive, improve and grow when you’re at the top — she’s truly inspirational.
  • One attribute I look for when hiring is …: Intellectual flexibility.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Hillary is innovative in seeking solutions that work for all parties. She has the ability to distill very complex issues and work hand in hand to resolve them. She is a very good listener, asks the right questions and then works toward making a deal as opposed to creating barriers that prevent deals from being consummated.”

  • John Wildhack, ESPN EVP, programming and acquisitions
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