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Volume 21 No. 1
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Forty Under 40

When the NFL decided to open its broadcast TV negotiations last fall — a series of three deals that would be worth more than $3 billion — the league’s top media executives, Steve Bornstein and Brian Rolapp, relied on a 38-year-old executive to lead the early discussions.

Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s senior vice president of media strategy and development, had been part of the three previous TV negotiations. Now, he was leading meetings with media titans like CBS President and CEO Les Moonves, News Corp. COO, President and Deputy Chairman Chase Carey and NBC Universal President and CEO Steve Burke.

For the league’s top media executives, the decision to have Schroeder take the lead was a no-brainer.

“It’s atypical in those circumstances that a junior guy would take the lead,” said Bornstein, the NFL’s executive vice president of media. “But in Hans’ case, it wasn’t a big leap of faith. He’s beyond competent.”

The long-term nature of the deals also made the negotiations trickier than normal. The deals run through 2022, when the media landscape will probably look as different from today as 2002 does.

“To do it with two years left on the extension, you’re really talking about an 11-year period to forecast your media business and not only get the dollar value increases that we wanted, but also give the flexibility of some of those other rights that we can continue to build incremental businesses,” Schroeder said.

This isn’t the first time the NFL has called on Schroeder to lead an important initiative. In 2005, Bornstein and Rolapp tapped Schroeder to develop the league’s digital business, which included websites and eventually fantasy and mobile, all of which have developed into an important revenue stream.

“We had no people, no code, no infrastructure and were given nine months to launch a website,” Schroeder said. “It was pretty daunting.”

Age: 38
Title: Senior vice president, media strategy and development
Organization: NFL
Education: A.B., American history, Princeton University
Family: Single
Career: Merrill Lynch, investment banking analyst (1996-99); Ask Jeeves (later, director of corporate development (2000-01); joined the NFL in 2001
FIRST JOB: Working for my dad in the yard … then later as a telemarketer during summer in high school
Last vacation: St. Lucia
what's on your ipod? Everything, but definitely everything U2
Guilty pleasure: Baking. I make a pretty mean graham cracker cream pie.
Best stress release: Shooting baskets
Pet peeve: When people spell my name with a Z … Hanz
Fantasy job: President of Australia’s first NFL franchise in Sydney
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT: Recently, my brother being in Afghanistan. He is a major and a pilot in the Marines.
Business advice: Always give your best effort … but make sure to make work fun, too.