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Volume 21 No. 1
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Game Changers: Karen Brodkin

Symbols of two big presences in Brodkin’s life: a photo of
son Quincy Beckett (named for Red Sox pitcher Josh) and
her father’s letterman jacket from Penn State.
Karen Brodkin
Fox Cable Networks
Senior Vice President

As a senior vice president at Fox Cable Networks, Karen Brodkin has been in the middle of some of the biggest deals in sports media this year. She quarterbacked Fox Sports’ rights bids for everything from the Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences to the Olympics and Wimbledon.

But the one that may have the longest impact is the one Brodkin fashioned with The Ultimate Fighting Championship in August. Though Fox had been contemplating a mixed martial arts deal for years, Brodkin crafted the final agreement in a frenetic 36 hours. The resulting deal is one of the most complex ever struck by Fox, involving several platforms: Fox, FX, Fuel and digital. The deal also is unique in that it brings the biggest mixed martial arts group to broadcast television for the first time.

Brodkin, who started her career as an entertainment lawyer, has been with Fox since 1998 and has gained a reputation as one of the most thorough negotiators in the business.

— John Ourand
  • Crowning professional achievement: Being a part of the team that launched the Big Ten Network in 2007.
  • Biggest professional disappointment: That my dad passed away before he saw me close some of the biggest deals of my career.
  • What is the best advice you've ever received: Don’t forget to use spell check, and check your moral compass every day.
  • What keeps you awake at night?: Missing deadlines, and sending my son to school with non-eco-friendly stuff in his lunch box.
  • Woman in sports business you'd most like to meet: Serena Williams: She’s a smart, savvy marketer off the court.
  • One attribute I look for when hiring is …: The ability to multitask all day long, combined with a very good sense of humor.


“Karen is the consummate deal closer. She has a great understanding of how business and law intersect at multiple levels and in various disciplines. Plus, it’s fun negotiating against her.”

  • Woodie Dixon Jr., general counsel and vice president of business affairs, Pac-12 Conference