Sports Asset Management Committee Profile: Christy King, UFC
Earlier this year, SVG launched the Sports Asset Management (SAM) Committee, dedicated to advancing the sports-media industry’s content-management and -storage capabilities and tools. This group, comprising asset-management leaders from each of the major U.S. professional leagues and college-sports entities, has spearheaded this year’s Sports Asset Management Forum (July 25 at the New York Hilton in Manhattan) and will contribute in-depth content to the upcoming online SVG Sports Asset Management Playbook (to be unveiled later this year). In advance of the Forum, SVG will profile the careers of all eight SAM Committee members.
At 14 years old, Christy King picked up a video camera for the first time – and never put it down.
After taking a photography class at Sunset High, she fell in love with the idea of visual storytelling the moment she put her hand through the camera strap. From shooting and editing a training video for the local McDonald’s chain to becoming an in-house technology consultant and tech vendor manager for Zuffa, LLC Sports Entertainment Brands, King has certainly found her place in the world of production.
King was a dedicated amateur photographer and videographer during her time in high school. She also worked for her father, Fred King, who was a computer hardware designer and started his own custom technology development company in Portland, Oregon.
“High school was not a terribly productive experience for me, but working for my dad during that time and watching how he solved problems with technology was incredibly influential,” says King.
Right after high school in 1987, King worked as a producer for Educational Productions, where she wrote, edited, and produced documentaries for several years. She developed the company’s first shared NLE systems and managed the postproduction process, while wrapping her head around a new emerging technology called “the web”.
Eventually, King’s career led her to the news industry. Although she never fully intended on working in sports, she observed that sports companies were pressing their technology more than other businesses.
“News and sports tend to have similar workflows so I eventually migrated to sports,” says King. “They were the folks who were really trying to push a ton of video clips and highlights early on, and the sports industries used all of the tools that the web had to offer.”
King was extremely focused on the idea of being able to push video quickly from one platform to another, which, during the ’90s, meant sending a 30-second clip of video to someone over the course of 24 hours. However slow that sounds now, King saw many opportunities in this concept, especially when dealing with customers overseas.
“We were distributing a ton of our materials to overseas military bases,” says King. “And to try to get a video tape sent over the mail was a 30- to 60-day process and often times it never showed up at all.”
Continuing with documentaries until the age of 30, King ended up in Charleston, South Carolina, where she worked as the webmaster/commercial producer for WCSC/CBS. Towards the end of her six years working at WCSC, executives from UFC found King through one of their salespeople – a former coworker of hers.
“I was interesting to the UFC at the time because I knew about this thing called the web,” she laughs.
After a quick recruitment, King moved out to Las Vegas, and has been working for the UFC ever since.
Although King has had a successful seven years managing the content development group for the UFC brands owned by Zuffa LLC, she understands the challenges that are faced not only within her company, but also with the technology industry as a whole.
“There are not a ton of people with background and experience who really understand how the TV business works, and the kinds of solutions and tools that those businesses need to do well in this age of technology,” says King. “These days, it is very hard to create technology solutions that stay relevant as well as fit in a business cycle.”
She believes the industry as a whole must figure out a way to participate and encourage young people to teach themselves and understand the language of computers in order to thrive.
“Every aspect of sports production has a massive amount of technology attached to it and that technology is only going to change faster,” says King. “We’ve had the extreme luck and pleasure to work with a handful of really smart tech guys, and they have really helped the UFC grow quickly.”
Although King never practiced any kind of martial arts as a child, she appreciates the incredibly good habits that martial arts training brings about in people. She also understands how fighters have to pay attention to every aspect of their bodies – from eating to sleeping.
“They are constantly learning what makes their bodies perform better, trying new things,” she says, “They’re in fantastic shape and they’re very well-rounded.”
When King isn’t at work, she likes to spend her free time on CrossFit and rock-climbing, both indoor and outdoor.
And when it comes to her favorite sport to watch, she prefers the NFL over any other pro-league sports. Growing up in Portland with no local football teams, however, she found her favorite team in a unique way.
“The best developers in the world that do such good work for us at UFC also do a ton of work for the Patriots, so I’ve adopted them,” says King.
“ …Just because I like those guys so much.”