Jamie Horowitz is a sports activities media government who has labored for a number of the largest names within the business, together with ESPN, NBC, Fox Sports activities, and the worldwide sports activities streaming service DAZN. He’s identified for his distinctive method to programming, which emphasizes empowering the on-air commentators to create present content material fully primarily based on their opinions and of their voice.
Throughout his 20-plus yr profession, Horowitz has developed and produced a number of the most iconic sports activities applications on TV, together with The ManningCast, SportsNation, First Take, Undisputed, and The Herd. He’s labored with stars like Sylvester Stallone and LeBron James to provide groundbreaking specials resembling DAZN’s documentary “One Night time” and the docuseries “40 Days.”
Horowitz is credited with serving to reimagine sports activities programming throughout the media spectrum. His affect is seen at numerous sports activities networks as opinion-based programming turned the norm at ESPN, FOX, NBC and, extra just lately, the web. In his early-40s, Horowitz is way from completed reimagining sports activities content material. Horowitz has just lately taken on the position of government vp of growth and digital at WWE, the place he’s anticipated to assist push WWE to do extra authentic programming that remember their superstars.
Jamie Horowitz’s Early Profession
Jamie Horowitz was an avid sports activities fan from an early age. An athlete himself, he performed basketball for Amherst School, the place he majored in political science.
After graduating, Horowitz began his profession as an Olympic Researcher for NBC Olympics. After the 2000 Olympics, he moved to NBC Sports activities and commenced producing content material for the NBA, NASCAR, and the Olympics. He would keep on at NBC for almost eight years.
In 2006, he was recruited to hitch ESPN as a senior producer in Unique Programming. He started engaged on a program known as Chilly Pizza, a morning discuss present. Horowitz was instrumental in remodeling this system into First Take, which turned one of many community’s hottest exhibits. Horowitz’s concept to exchange sports activities evaluation (which was already being seen on SportsCenter on the identical time) with authentic sports activities debate. He revamped the present by specializing in passionate debates between Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, two outspoken personalities with contrasting opinions on sports activities points. This reimagination led to an enormous spike in scores and an enormous bounce in Horowitz’s profession.
Sprinting up the Ladder at ESPN
Horowitz shortly rose by the ranks at ESPN, turning into vp of authentic programming and manufacturing in 2012. He oversaw a number of widespread exhibits on the community, resembling SportsNation, Numbers By no means Lie, and Olbermann. He pushed his signature fashion of opinion and debate even on these established applications, leading to scores that proceed to develop.
Horowitz said that his goal was to create partaking content material that appealed to younger audiences who have been in search of extra than simply details and statistics. “We’re making these exhibits for the shoppers. We’re making these exhibits for the followers,” he stated.
Except for fundamental programming, Horowitz additionally performed a key position in securing a cope with the NBA for ESPN’s pregame present NBA Countdown. Below his management, the present underwent a serious revamp. He began by hiring new expertise to hitch the panel, together with former gamers Magic Johnson and Jalen Rose, and sportswriter Invoice Simmons. Horowitz changed a number of the analysis-based banter with partaking segments that appealed to youthful and extra various audiences. He additionally inspired the incorporation of popular culture references and social media into the present’s content material.
Horowitz’s influence on ESPN’s programming technique can’t be understated. The applications he produced and developed carried out properly, however that they had a good bigger influence on the community as an entire. Horowitz reshaped ESPN’s id as a vacation spot for sports activities followers who needed to listen to totally different views and opinions on their favourite groups and gamers.
Constructing a Model at Fox Sports activities
After a short stint at NBC, Jamie Horowitz moved to Fox Sports activities in 2015 to function president of Fox Sports activities Nationwide Networks. He was employed to overtake fledgling manufacturers Fox Sports activities 1 (aka FS1) and Fox Sports activities 2 (aka FS2), two cable channels that had been just lately launched to compete with ESPN.
Horowitz introduced his signature fashion of debate-driven programming to Fox Sports activities — together with lots of the sports activities personalities he labored with on ESPN. With a clean slate to work with, Horowitz created new exhibits like Communicate for Your self and Undisputed, the latter of which starred ESPN veteran Skip Bayless. He additionally relaunched The Herd with Colin Cowherd, a radio host with whom Horowitz had labored at ESPN.
One of many main instruments used to propel FS1 to success was discovering the fitting personalities to hook sports activities followers. In line with Horowitz, he spent a lot of his time searching for “people who find themselves fearless, authentic and considerate,” he stated. “These are usually folks with actually distinctive voices within the sports activities panorama.”
Jamie Horowitz helped enhance FS1’s profile and relevance on this planet of sports activities media by bringing in large names and creating distinctive exhibits that generated buzz and debate.
By the point he left Fox Sports activities, FS1 was a severe competitor of ESPN. Viewership had jumped by 28% — a pattern that will proceed within the coming years. It might quickly turn out to be the No. 2 most-watched cable sports activities information channel within the U.S.
Altering the Sport: Jamie Horowitz’s Legacy
Horowitz left Fox Sports activities in 2017 after two years on the job. In that quick period of time, he had managed to construct FS1 right into a profitable model with a novel voice and a loyal following — one which rivaled his earlier employer, ESPN.
However greater than that, Horowitz had proven that his method to sports activities journalism wasn’t only a fluke at ESPN. Audiences most popular his fashion of sports activities commentary and he proved that it may very well be repeated elsewhere with comparable outcomes. Horowitz’s applications went on to affect many different networks and platforms. His emphasis on personality-driven exhibits that generate buzz and controversy has turn out to be a standard components for attracting audiences in an more and more aggressive market.
Except for his work on TV, Horowitz can be credited with shifting broadcasting into the digital age. He led efforts to digitize leisure at ESPN and Fox and he served as EVP of content material for the sports activities app DAZN, which turned the highest-grossing sports activities app because of Horowitz’s management.
Horowitz has left a mark on the sports activities media business that won’t be going away anytime quickly. His content material growth technique is now used as a blueprint at each main sports activities media outlet.
A Sports activities Media Visionary
Jamie Horowitz is credited with creating a number of the most profitable sports activities applications on TV and the web over the previous 20 years. He’s been described as a visionary and a disruptor for his controversial tackle sports activities broadcasting. And though some lament the lack of extra analysis-based sports activities exhibits, Horowitz is extensively admired by his colleagues and followers.
He remodeled ESPN throughout his tenure there, significantly together with his work on the applications First Take, SportsNation, and Numbers By no means Lie. He went on to construct FS1 from the bottom up in simply over 2 years, turning it into a serious sports activities community. His work with HBO and DAZN produced groundbreaking sports activities content material for a brand new technology of followers. And now, he’ll proceed to blaze ahead because the EVP of growth and digital at WWE.
The way forward for sports activities media is unsure, nevertheless it’s clear that Jamie Horowitz will proceed to affect the business with modern sports activities programming for a few years to return.