SBJ/October 8-14, 2012/Game Changers

Game Changers: Christine Driessen

Photo: COURTESY OF CHRISTINE DRIESSEN
Driessen and her husband enjoy the atmosphere at the U.S.
Open last month.
Christine Driessen
ESPN
EVP, Chief Financial Officer

Christine Driessen has influenced virtually every deal ESPN has cut during her career at the network, but her importance goes way beyond the company’s deep pockets. Driessen’s charge is to develop bids that will help ESPN get sports rights while also making sure that the company doesn’t bid too much as the competition to win the rights moves along. “I am there to give a realistic view to counter the rabid enthusiasm for all things sports,” Driessen said. And ESPN’s top executives use Driessen’s counsel. She goes into each negotiation with a bid that ESPN can’t go over, a calculation that’s become increasingly difficult to make as more rights get thrown into the mix. “We hate when we don’t get the rights,” she said.
— John Ourand
  • Crowning professional achievement: Recognizing the potential in a startup 24-hour sports company and having the courage to take the job as controller at that company back in 1985.
  • Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: My father, who as a sole proprietor understood the value of delivering a product/service that was needed at the highest level of quality, and in return demanding a commensurate value for that product/service.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Dealing with individuals who don’t realize the potential they have to positively influence today’s youth through sports.
  • Outside of work and family, I’m spending a lot of my time on …: I get to dabble a little in gardening, because I love the outdoors, but my children and husband are my priority along with my job at this point in my life.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Christine’s experience, knowledge and judgment are indispensable to ESPN. She plays a key role in any big decision we make, here in the U.S. or on a global scale.”

  • John Skipper, ESPN president
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