SBJ/Sept. 9-15, 2013/Game Changers
Game Changers: Reagan Feeney
Published September 9, 2013, Page 40A
A native New Englander, Feeney grew up a Red Sox fan. She and her husband, who is from Boston, attended two games of the 2004 World Series, when the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I know people think that all I do is go to Fenway Park and Red Sox games,” Feeney joked. “Despite popular belief, I don’t go around the country just going to professional sporting events.”
Feeney’s popularity comes from the fact that sports networks that want carriage on DirecTV have to go through her. She has been a part of these types of negotiations since 1997, when she was first hired by the satellite service as a junior assistant. But Feeney says the negotiations have become tougher, especially as networks pay more for rights and are, in turn, looking to get more from distributors.
“We used to have this product for X. Now, it’s 10X,” Feeney said. “Or, we used to have all the product on one channel. Now, some of it is moving to a whole new service.”
In addition to doing carriage deals, Feeney also says the digital world is becoming a challenge. “How do you protect yourself against what you don’t know,” she said. “To me, that’s the scariest and most difficult part of my job beyond the costs.”
- Crowning professional achievement: Starting at DirecTV as a junior assistant and working my way to vice president. I remember the first time someone asked me to pick up their dry-cleaning and I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life by taking the job. Turns out it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
- Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: Michael Thornton opened the door to sports when he put his trust in me to manage DirecTV’s RSN deal negotiations when I didn’t even know the difference between the in-market and out-of-market.
- Best advice you’ve received: Stop talking and listen. It’s surprising how much you can learn by simply listening.
- The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Achieving a balance between cost and value.
“I always bring my ‘A’ game when I meet with Reagan, as she is on top of all things sports-related and how they interconnect with video deployment.”