In Depth

On the Horizon: Rosalyn Durant

Name: Rosalyn Durant

Title: VP-general manager, ESPNU

Barely 10 years out of college, Rosalyn Durant is now running ESPNU, a network that recently expanded its distribution with DirecTV and Comcast, growing to 46 million subscribers.

Ms. Durant joined ESPN as an intern in affiliate sales and marketing in 1998. She became a full-time staffer the following year and in 2005 transferred to the programming department, where she oversaw the network’s relationship with the NBA, Major League Soccer and Olympic sport leagues.

But in running ESPNU she’s trying to remain close to that collegiate experience by frequently visiting campuses.

“If we want to reach younger audiences, you have to get back to campuses regularly just to listen and hear what they’re talking about. It changes,” she said, “Students could be very different 18 months from now, so I make it a priority to stay plugged in.”

The network also fosters close ties with students through its Campus Connection program of student created content. Students act as sideline reporters and run cameras for the network, ensuring that a student voice is heard.

As a student at the University of South Carolina, Ms. Durant wasn’t much of a jock herself.

She’s sometimes asked if she played basketball in college. “I’m tall, but if you ever saw me on the court, you’d never ask me that question,” she said.

As a broadcast journalism major, she covered many games as anchor of the campus TV station and enjoyed both games as both a as spectator and as casual participant.

After her quick rise to this point, Ms. Durant hesitated to guess where she’ll be in another 10 years.

“We’ll just have to see where the path takes me,” she said.

—Jon Lafayette

Filed under: Hot List, On the Horizon, Rosalyn Durant