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Profile: Geoff Reiss

Mar 12, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Title: Senior vice president of programming, production and operations at ESPN Internet Group. Mr. Reiss manages the development of ESPN.com, ABCSports.com, the official site of the NFL and Soccernet. Before joining ESPN Internet Group, he developed ESPN SportsZone with Starwave Corp., a Paul Allen venture aimed at developing new media and entertainment products. Disney acquired Starwave in 1997. Earlier, Mr. Reiss spent six years at Spy magazine as vice president and general manager.
Layoffs: “The rounds of layoffs that have occurred have been directed at other properties in the Disney Internet groups. We haven’t been affected by the layoffs.
“We are incredibly bullish on a sports media property that attracts more than 2 million young men a day through its doors-it remains a vibrant and important media player and potential advertising vehicle in any marketing arena. The shake-up only enhances our ability to solidify our position-there are new opportunities to further that standing.
“There’s going to be continued evaluation of the ways ESPN.com integrates with the various television entities in terms of how we provide opportunities to enhance programming. At the most basic level, we can affect ratings on ESPN and ESPN2-take a look at what we did with NFL draft coverage.”
Wireless: “It fits in a broader ESPN strategy to make content available to consumers on as many formats as possible. Wireless providers are embracing products like ESPN because our demographics are a natural fit-96 percent male, with a median age of 28 years old. They have a huge appetite for emerging technology.
“[For example] we’ve been running our Tournament Challenge game since 1996. We expect over a million sports fans to play this year [compared with 650,000 last year] over all platforms. Our new wireless option to pick winners for each NCAA game will let participants make the picks and check their status on a Palm VII or any telephone.” The service is made possible via telephone through a new agreement with Tell Me. A separate deal with Palm makes the PDA option possible.
My SportsCenter: “We’re going to foray into broadband with a product called My SportsCenter later this year. It will reflect the evaluation of the Web from a narrow to a narrow and broadband world.”