2018 SVG Sports OTT Forum


David Bailey, Formula 1, Senior Digital Research Manager

Bailey currently heads up digital research and analytics, working across areas including the F1 website and app re-launch, as well as the launch of the brand-new OTT service F1 TV. The research team at F1 has only been in existence for little over a year, but the fan insights they’ve captured have been pivotal in further developing a much-loved international sport both online and offline.

Eric Black, NBC Sports Digital and Playmaker Media, CTO

Black manages all IP-delivered platforms for NBC Sports Digital, including its numerous websites, applications, and connected devices. He also oversees NBC Sports’ Playmaker Media, a separate business that provides end-to-end video support service for companies in need of best-in-class live streaming and VOD solutions. Under Black’s leadership, NBC Sports Digital and Playmaker Media have streamed some of the most prestigious properties in sports, including five Olympic Games, two Super Bowls, Sunday Night Football, NHL, Premier League, NBA, NASCAR, the Triple Crown, Notre Dame Football, and the Open Championship, among many others.

Skip Desjardin, YouTube TV, Head of Sports and Local Content

Desjardin is a television veteran who now works for Google, where he was instrumental in the development of Google Fiber and now serves as head of sports and local content for the company’s new OTT business, YouTube TV. In the 1980s, he helped launch the country’s first regional sports network, then established the pay-per-view business in the 1990s as the head of PPV for the World Wrestling Federation in the heyday of WrestleMania. As an executive at ESPN in the 2000s, Desjardin launched the company’s first digital network, its interactive TV services, and the first-ever video-on-demand agreement for a basic cable network.

Brian Herbst, NASCAR, VP, Global Media Strategy and Distribution

Herbst leads NASCAR’s international media and audio businesses, in addition to developing new media distribution opportunities for NASCAR. He joined NASCAR in 2005 and played an important role in the development of the industry’s digital media strategy when NASCAR brought its digital rights in-house in 2012.

Herbst oversees the sport’s international media business, with NASCAR content now broadcast in over 185 countries and territories. He also led the development of the sport’s first over-the-top product, NASCAR TrackPass, which is now available in over 125 countries and territories.

Darryl Jefferson, NBC Sports and Olympics, VP, Post Operations and Digital Workflow

Darryl Jefferson was named VP of digital workflows at NBC Sports Group in January, 2013. In this role, he oversees the post production and asset management teams, which focus on the development and execution of automated file-based ingest, production transcode, long-term archive, and remote delivery. In addition, Jefferson is responsible for transitioning the NBC Sports film/tape archive to a wholly file-based system. He reports to Dave Mazza, SVP and CTO, at NBC Sports Group.

Previously, Jefferson served as director of post production operations. Most notably, he oversaw the Highlights Factory/Asset Management System from conception through implementation at all Olympic Games between the 2008 Beijing Games through the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. In addition to Olympics, his daily portfolio of production includes Sunday Night Football and Thursday Night Football, Triple Crown events (8 years of Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes), NASCAR, NHL, Premiere League, and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Jefferson was also involved in the construction and systems integration process for NBC Sports Group’s state-of-the-art production facility in Stamford, CT. He formerly oversaw technical operations at the NBC Olympics Landmark Plaza facility.

Prior to joining NBC Sports Group, Jefferson was director of post production at Lifetime Networks. He oversaw post production scheduling, duplication, media management, and digital media coordination. Jefferson was a key member of the Operations/IT task force responsible for the transition to a tapeless environment, and was a primary architect of the tapeless digital workflow.

Jefferson is a fourteen-time Emmy Award Winner for New Approaches in Broadcasting, Short Form 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014; New Approaches in Event Coverage 2014; Technical Emmy Award (Set Top Box Delivery); Tech Team, Studio 2010, 2012, 2014; Tech Team, Remote 2014, 2016; Transmedia 2016; and a 2012 & 2014 George Wensel Technical Achievement Award Recipient.

Ken Kerschbaumer, SVG, Co-Executive Director, Editorial Services

Ken Kerschbaumer is co-executive director of editorial services for the Sports Video Group and SVG Europe. He was a co-founder of SVG along with Paul Gallo and Marty Porter in 2005 and has been writing about how sports networks and leagues use video and audio technology to deliver a quality TV experience since 1991. Kerschbaumer began his career in 1991 at Television Broadcast magazine before joining Cahners where he was founding editor of Digital Broadcasting magazine. In 2000, he joined Broadcasting & Cable magazine as senior editor of technology where he covered all aspects of broadcasting, cable, and Internet content creation and distribution.

Zach Leonsis, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, SVP of Strategic Initiatives

Zach Leonsis is SVP of strategic initiatives for Monumental Sports & Entertainment and general manager of Monumental Sports Network, a first-of-its-kind regional sports network for digital, mobile, and over-the-top platforms. In 2016, Leonsis led the transformation of Monumental Sports Network – co-owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment and NBC Sports Group – from an ad-based blogging platform into a direct-to-fan service content provider.

Leonsis manages Monumental’s media rights relationship with NBC Sports Washington, which has local exclusive television broadcasting rights to the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, and represents MSE on NBC Sports Washington’s board of directors.

After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, Leonsis received his M.B.A. from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and is a founding member of the Georgetown Entrepreneurial Advisory Board. He recently received an appointment to serve on Virginia’s Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism and is involved in a variety of nonprofit and charitable activities in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia communities.

The Washington Business Journal and the Sports Business Journal both recognized Leonsis for his work in revolutionizing the direct-to-fan regional digital experience by honoring him in their “40 Under 40” list and as an “RSN Power Player,” respectively. In 2017, Leonsis was acknowledged as a top 20 innovator on SportTechie.com. Additionally, Leonsis has been lauded for his ongoing philanthropy, receiving the Street Soccer USA’s Youth Service Award and the McLean Rotary Club’s Youth Service Award.

Leonsis is a board member of the Anacostia Waterfront Trust in Washington, working to revitalize one of the city’s most treasured rivers, and was instrumental in securing the Wizards’ upcoming practice facility in D.C.’s Ward 8. 

Hania Poole, Bleacher Report (B/R) Live, GM and NCAA Digital, VP/GM

Poole oversees all aspects of NCAA Digital – including Turner’s award-winning NCAA March Madness Live (MML) – and the recently launched B/R Live, Turner’s premium live sports streaming service. Poole’s responsibilities also include oversight of the day-to-day relationship with league partners at the NCAA. As VP/GM of NCAA Digital, Poole leads the teams responsible for content, operations, and product development for the business including NCAA.com, the NCAA Sports App, live digital coverage for all NCAA Championships, and the management of MML.

Dan Rayburn, Streaming Media Expert, Consultant

Rayburn is considered to be one of the foremost authorities, speakers, and writers on streaming media technology and online video business models. An avid blogger, author, and analyst, Rayburn is often referred to as the “voice of the industry” and has been quoted in more than a thousand news items by nearly every major media outlet over the past 20 years. His blog is one of the most widely read sites for broadcasters, content owners, Wall Street money managers, and industry executives in the online video sector. His articles have been published by the WSJ, NYT, CNN, Huff Post, Fortune, Business Insider, Gizmodo and he has been interviewed on Bloomberg, FOX, CNN, CBS, CNBC, and NPR, amongst others.

Mark Thames, Juniper Networks, Americas Security Partner Leader

As Juniper Networks’ Americas security partner leader, Mark Thames is responsible for the strategy and programs to enable, support, and reward partners in the U.S., Canada, and CALA for selling Juniper’s security solutions. Thames is a 20+ year veteran in the information security and networking industry with multiple Silicon Valley based companies. His background includes being a large Juniper customer and decision maker, selling Juniper solutions at an Elite Juniper Partner, and working for Juniper for the Partner Organization for the last 2 ½ years.

Prior to Juniper, Thames was senior director of networks and security for Polycom for over 8 years. He has also held roles such as SVP of client development for Toopher, a security software company which was acquired by Salesforce.com in 2015, and other various security and networking leadership roles in Cloud IAAS and financial companies.

Thames is a proud veteran of the United States Air Force, where he focused on networking and security. He has a Bachelor of Arts in business from Concordia University Texas.

Chris Wagner, NeuLion, EVP

e company’s marketplace efforts directed toward The NeuLion Digital Platform. As one of the first startup companies in the OTT industry, NeuLion was acquired by Endeavor in 2018.

NeuLion’s work in the marketplace has attracted big brands in both the sports and entertainment industries. From the Big Ten Network, UFC, NFL, Sky Sports to Univision, Rogers, and EuroLeague, these household names have all selected the NeuLion Digital Platform to power their OTT and direct-to-consumer services.

Wagner has been a frequent speaker at conferences, trade shows, and industry events.

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