My Summer at ESPN by Claire Miller '15

Claire Miller '15 on ESPN's SportsCenter set in Bristol, Conn.
Claire Miller '15 on ESPN's SportsCenter set in Bristol, Conn.

Editor's Note: Claire begins her third year in Eph Sports Information this fall and her fourth year as a member of the Eph volleyball team that will be out to defend their 2013 NESCAC Championship.

Coming into Williams, I never could have guessed that I would have the opportunity to intern at ESPN, "The World Wide Leader in Sports."

However, I did get the chance to start working in Eph Sports Information, which gave me great experience and exposure to sports media. This helped me attract some interest for a potential internship from a Williams alum that works at the ESPN offices in New York. We stayed in contact throughout my junior year, including my spring semester abroad in Paris. While abroad, a member of the ESPN Brand Marketing team contacted me. After a series of FaceTime phone interviews I received the good news that I was chosen to be a part of the ESPN Summer 2014 internship program as a brand-marketing intern.

It was quite an exciting time to be interning at ESPN, especially given that the network was broadcasting the 2014 World Cup. During my first week I met the other New York City interns, who were working in the marketing, sales, or research departments.

I was helping out on the brand marketing team that focused mainly on marketing the ESPN Films content. This included their critically acclaimed 30 for 30 documentaries, as well as the different 30 for 30 sub-brands like the Soccer Stories and the Nine for IX series.

In addition to my work with brand marketing, I was also able to contribute to the social media team. I went to their daily meeting where they planned out the schedule for every social media platform with the ESPN handle – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and Google Plus. They had also recently launched a Pinterest page, to which I was given access to pin any cool sports-related photos.

Although I spent some of my time with the social media team, the vast majority of my work revolved around marketing for ESPN films. The most recent 30 for 30 documentary, "Slaying the Badger," premiered in July so luckily I was able to see the marketing process for the film from start to finish.

The film focuses on Greg LeMond, the American cyclist, and his relationship with Bernard Hinault, the French cyclist known as "The Badger", during the Tour de France in 1985 and in 1986.

Calire Miller delivers a kill

For the marketing of this film, the first priority was to produce a TV topical. We provided feedback on numerous edits for the 30-second TV spot to make sure the topical would educate viewers about this niche film subject. I truly felt like I was a part of the team as I was able to offer my opinions and add to those discussions.

After the topical was completed, I helped lead a brainstorming session to generate other ideas to promote the film. Various members in the department came to contribute some fun and creative suggestions. I then incorporated those ideas into a creative marketing plan.

In the week leading up to the premiere of the film, my managers were out in Los Angeles for the ESPY Awards so I was holding down the fort in New York and making sure everything was completed on time. Having these responsibilities taught me a lot about the importance of keeping everyone in the loop and assuring that things ran smoothly.

I met with members on the Creative Services team, who are the graphic designers for ESPN, to discuss the creative that needed to be made for "Slaying the Badger." Once those images were completed I sent them out to my managers and also a member of the ESPN Films team for approval. Once approved, they were posted on the 30 for 30 Facebook page and Twitter account.

When my managers returned from Los Angeles and the film had finally aired, we immediately started working on similar assignments for the latest installment of the SEC Storied series, which premiered on the newly launched SEC Network.

After watching the four films that would be aired, we previewed topicals for each film and then discussed some concepts for the creative team. I assisted on two films: "The Stars are Aligned" and "Bo, Barkley, and the Big Hurt". The other two films in the series aired after the end of my internship, but I was able to take some key initial steps and find the photo assets for the creative for those films.

There were numerous other events and assignments related to the 30 for 30 brand that I worked on as well. For example this fall ESPN is selling a 30 for 30 Fifth Anniversary DVD box set, and we planned some potential marketing strategies to promote it.

The internship program included multiple lunches and meetings with the different people that led various parts of the company, not only for Sales and Marketing but also for areas such as Business Operations, ESPN International, and Human Resources. Every one in those meetings was incredibly approachable and open to any questions the interns had about their work.

At the end of my internship I gave a presentation summarizing all of the things I learned and worked on over the summer to the heads of the marketing team.

Near summer's end all of the New York ESPN interns traveled to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. ESPN President John Skipper spoke to us and we were given a tour of the campus, including the new SportsCenter studio.

Overall the internship offered in-depth exposure to the way the entire company operates and I am so grateful having had this experience.

After graduation I hope to pursue job opportunities in the ESPN Marketing Department or potentially other careers related to sports media and marketing.

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