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WWSG Exclusive

Sean Bratches

Former Managing Director of Commercial Operations, Formula 1; Former Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, ESPN

Sean Bratches was the key executive overseeing the commercial businesses of both ESPN and Formula 1 during their respective journeys to prominence. He developed and oversaw the innovation and strategies that were material to the marketplace successes of the respective businesses. The scope of his oversight spanned the continuum from revenue generation, marketing and brand management, event operations, business development, research and analytics, and operations.

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In this riveting address, Bratches explains how a seven-decades-old motorsport entity was rapidly evolved into a vibrant global media and entertainment brand. Under Bratches, Formula 1 built and introduced a completely new commercial proposition focused on serving the fan and reimagining key commercial partnerships with new and incumbent sponsors, broadcasters, race promoters, digital platforms, and retail entities. This presentation provides a firsthand account of his experiences and explains the leadership, vision, and innovation he applied to change the course of a sport.

Bratches explains the decisions and commercial drivers behind the ascendancy of ESPN in this exciting presentation. During his tenure at ESPN, Bratches’ leadership fueled tremendous growth for ESPN’s brand, asset portfolio, and revenue. He oversaw the two primary revenue streams—advertising and sponsorship sales, and content licensing—and led the commercial. He was also directly involved in ESPN’s media rights negotiations with both professional and collegiate governing bodies. Audiences will takeaway valuable advice for business practices of all kinds.

Biography

Sean R.H. Bratches is an executive with over thirty years of public and private equity company leadership, management, and operating experience at multi-billion-dollar scale in the media, entertainment, and sports sectors.

Bratches spent close to three decades with ESPN, rising to Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing and serving on the ESPN Board of Directors. Upon Liberty Media’s acquisition of Formula 1, he moved to London for three years serving as Managing Director of Commercial Operations and acted as an advisor for an additional year.

At Formula 1 Bratches applied the leadership, vision, and innovation that has defined his career. He transformed Formula 1 from a motorsport series into a global media and entertainment brand. Formula 1 realized record earnings during his tenure and acheived consistent increases in global race attendance, television viewership, fan growth, and digital and social media usage and engagement.

Under Bratches, Formula 1 built and introduced a completely new commercial proposition focused on serving the fan and reimagining key commercial partnerships with new and incumbent sponsors, broadcasters, race promoters, digital platforms, and retail entities.

Bratches oversaw the introduction of Formula 1’s digital business, launching a responsive web platform, social media partnerships, fantasy games, esports, podcasts, a live OTT service, and licensing its robust data set to foster accredited betting in the sport. He also enacted initiatives that grew the sport by creating engaging experiential offerings and content aimed at existing fans while simultaneously developing a new breed of Formula 1 fan.

During Bratches’ tenure at ESPN, he helped shape ESPN’s business, operational, and creative strategies across all segments of the company. His leadership fueled tremendous growth in ESPN’s brand, asset portfolio, and revenue.  He oversaw the two primary revenue streams – advertising and sponsorship sales, and content licensing – and led the commercial business that included consumer marketing, research and analytics, business operations, consumer products, and the events marketing divisions. He was directly involved in ESPN’s media rights negotiations with both professional and collegiate governing bodies.

In this role, Bratches lead ESPN’s sales and marketing team that provided national advertisers access to the premier media and marketing platforms and content under the ESPN umbrella which included the Company’s eight domestic cable networks, ESPN on ABC, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Radio and ESPN’s digital and mobile properties. Bratches oversaw the first unified sales organization that represented the Walt Disney Company’s premier collection of sports assets across all media platforms.

In addition, Bratches oversaw all distribution, licensing, and marketing for the cable and satellite networks of The Walt Disney Company to its linear and emerging affiliate partners. The assets included: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPN SEC Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney XD and retransmission consent for the ABC owned and operated television stations. He was also responsible for the distribution of related HDTV, broadband, VOD, SVOD, interactive television, PPV, Spanish language, and sports syndication products.

Bratches was also responsible for ESPN’s marketing efforts which included the development, direction and implementation of all branding, creative services and marketing for ESPN’s growing media businesses, encompassing television, digital, print, audio, consumer products and all outdoor advertising.  This included oversight of the Company’s award-winning “This is SportsCenter” and “It’s Not Crazy, Its’s Sports” marketing campaigns.

Under his direction, ESPN’s incumbent and emerging networks and platforms such as ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN, ESPN3.com and ESPN SEC Network were launched and achieved record-setting growth.

Subsequent to Formula 1 Bratches served as a Senior Advisor at McKinsey & Company, and was first the Chief Commercial Officer at LIV Golf Investments. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors at ANUVU (erstwhile Global Eagle).

A two-time Vanguard winner, the cable industry’s most prestigious recognition, Bratches served on a variety of industry boards including CTAM, Women in Cable & Television, The Cable Center, The T. Howard Foundation and The Ad Council. He was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also the originator and Executive Producer of the successful NETFLIX series “Formula 1 : Drive to Survive” and has won an Emmy Award for ESPN’s “It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports” campaign.

Bratches is an early-stage investor in new media platforms, focusing on the sports and media sectors. These investments include stakes in Opendorse, Boom Sports, Sideline Swap, Athlete Studio, and Artifact.

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