RIT grad is among ‘most influential in sports business’

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Sean Bratches '83, '91

Sean Bratches ’83, ’91 (business administration) is one of the most influential people in American sports business, according to Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal.

Bratches, executive vice president, sales and marketing, for ESPN is No. 19 on the top 50 list compiled by the publication. He joined ESPN in 1988.

“While these individual acknowledgements are always nice, it is ultimately a reflection of the many people at ESPN and our collective focus on serving the sports fan better tomorrow than we did today,” says Bratches.

Bratches played lacrosse at RIT and helped lead the Tigers to their first NCAA appearance in 1983. In 2002, he was instrumental in bringing ESPN Zone to RIT, the first at any college. Bratches also has been an advocate for hiring RIT alumni and students to full-time and co-op positions at ESPN. He was inducted into RIT's Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Bratches shares spot No. 19 on the most influential list with John Skipper, executive vice president, content. George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN/ABC Sports, is No. 3. The publication credited Skipper and Bratches with implementing Bodenheimer’s vision for the network. “Skipper drives the editorial and programming product, locking up new property deals and gobbling up more and more rights. Bratches oversees the sales, marketing and affiliate relationships key to ESPN’s mega-bottom line, while increasing ESPN’s place in pop culture. When new deals are done with ESPN, one of these two have signed off on it.”