SBJ/March 10-16, 2014/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40: Rick Cordella


PAUL DRINKWATER / NBC

Rick
Cordella

Company: NBC Sports Group
Title: SVP and GM, digital
Age: 37
Where born: Framingham, Mass.
Education: Providence College (B.S., business management; minor in computer science); Boston College (MBA)
Career background: Computer programmer,
Rotoworld.com
Family: Wife, Jennifer; daughters Ava (7), Rylie (6) and Sydney (3)

Favorite apps: Besides NBC Sports’ apps: MLB at Bat, NHL GameCenter, Twitter.
Favorite way to unwind: Family time, or beer and a ballgame.
Guilty pleasure: Frozen Reese’s mini peanut butter cups.
Worst habit: Not giving my wife a heads-up when I’ll be late.
I have a fear of … : Websites crashing, streams going black, and apps being broken.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Playing in March Madness in 1997.
2014 will be a good year if … : Successful digital Sochi Olympics, launch RSN streaming, and grow NBC Sports Live Extra.

Rick Cordella has found life good among the heavyweights of online sports media.

After helping lead a corporate transformation early this decade that moved NBC Sports among the leaders in the industry, Cordella built upon those initial gains by playing a key role in a major digital alliance with Yahoo Sports, implementing the first Summer and Winter Olympics with complete live digital streaming, and moving the company into a major position in the TV Everywhere landscape. NBC Sports also continues to generate significant audiences with its live streaming of NFL “Sunday Night Football” and now is delivering English Premier League soccer as well.

Between live game rights and documentary projects, Cordella and NBC have worked with virtually every major U.S. sports property.
For Cordella, that’s a meant a major pivot in how the company’s digital business is structured and operates. After first simply seeking significant traffic and reach, his focus now rests squarely on NBC Sports’ streaming video schedule and the audiences that generates. Much of his time is spent on removing consumer barriers to authenticate themselves and receive live streaming content.

“The business is now really centered around streaming, and things like authentication and TV Everywhere really make the business go,”

SBJ Podcast:
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.

Cordella said. “When I first started here, I didn’t necessarily know a lot about cable, but I’ve become much more of a cable guy because our TV and digital operations are now truly intertwined.”

— Eric Fisher

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