SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Game Changers

Game Changers: Rosalyn Durant

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JOE FARAONI / ESPN
Durant has raised the ESPNU banner, as well as the
channel’s exposure.
Rosalyn Durant
ESPNU
VP, General Manager


When Rosalyn Durant was named ESPNU’s vice president and general manager in 2008, she had a simple mandate: Expand the network’s programming lineup and persuade executives in Bristol to put more focus on the channel. This college football season has showed the fruits of those labors.

ESPNU is in its second year with a bolstered lineup of programs. It picked up the first hour of ESPN’s popular Saturday morning college football studio show, “College GameDay,” which expanded to three hours, and it chose Erin Andrews to host. The result has been the largest live-game viewership in ESPNU’s history over the past two years, on the theory that people tune in for the pregame and stay with the channel through the games that follow. Generally ESPN’s fourth pick on the college football schedule (behind ABC, ESPN and ESPN2), ESPNU’s college football viewership has outperformed offerings from FX and Versus this season.

In the three years since Durant has been running ESPNU, the channel, which launched in 2005, also has seen its distribution rise, from 25 million to 73 million homes.

— John Ourand
  • What is the best advice you've ever received: Do something that makes you uncomfortable every day. You’ll learn more and have more fun.
  • What keeps you awake at night?: Good TV.
  • In 10 words or less, how would you describe your management style?: Empowering; provide direction, support and sufficient rope.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Keeping up with the ever-changing landscape.
  • One attribute I look for when hiring is: Fearlessness.
  • If I had to do it all over again, I would …: Play more, and enjoy the moments.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“The extraordinary growth of ESPNU, both in terms of content and distribution, over the last two years is due in large part to Roz’s leadership. She understands what it takes to fulfill ESPNU’s mission and goes about it with quiet determination.”

  • Mike Slive, commissioner, Southeastern Conference
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