Forty Under 40: Eric Conrad
Title: VP, sports programming and GM, FIFA Properties
Where born: Arlington, Va.
Education: Colgate University (B.A., psychology)
Career background: NBA (2000-04), MLB (2004-07), ESPN Deportes (2007-10), ESPN (2010-11), Univision (2011-present)
Family: Wife, Kasey; children Maximo (6), Julianna (3) and Mateo (9 months)
Favorite apps: Univision Deportes, Uber, Netflix, Metro-North, DirecTV.
Favorite way to unwind: Going for a jog on the trails with my yellow Lab.
Guilty pleasure: Good beer — Warsteiner and Switchback.
Cause supported: Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Franz Beckenbauer.
I have a fear of … : My kids becoming Yankees fans.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Cliff jumping in Vancouver.
2014 will be a good year if … : The World Cup is a resounding success.
UNIVISION COMMUNICATIONS INC.
He has been at two leagues, and two sports networks, often working in two languages.
Along the way, Eric Conrad has gained not only experience, but also perspective.
As vice president of sports programming at Univision, he deals with soccer properties from around the world as well as with the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. Whether negotiating rights or managing an existing
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.
“Having been at a league really helps,” said Conrad, who joined the management training program at the NBA after graduating from Colgate and then worked in the league’s international TV department for two years before spending three years in Latin American and Hispanic marketing at MLB. “Negotiating with leagues on acquiring content, you understand what their priorities are and how they’re structured. You understand, beyond the more apparent business standpoint, what it takes operationally to get a deal done with these guys. I think I understand it better having been there.”
Conrad also had a chance to tie his present with his past recently when he negotiated a deal to sublicense rights to Mexican national team games for broadcast in English on ESPN, where he worked for four years before joining Univision as it launched its sports network, Univision Deportes. While some might see that as aiding a significant competitor, Conrad viewed it as a chance to not only defray the cost of the rights, but also to increase interest in the sport that dominates Univision Deportes’ programming wheel.
“The more soccer is on-air in general, the better it is for us, because we have a ton of it,” Conrad said. “We want to make sure as many people see quality soccer as is possible. Then, when they want to see more, they’re coming to us.”
— Bill King