Jed Drake, who joined ESPN in its first year of operation, took on the newly created role of senior vice president, production innovation, in October 2014. In this position, he works closely with the leaders of ESPN’s Technology division, directors of live events and Creative Services to leverage existing resources for ESPN’s event productions and identify new entities that can support events.
Prior to this role, Drake served as senior vice president and executive producer, responsible for all aspects of production for many of ESPN’s most prestigious properties, including Monday Night Football, FIFA World Cup Soccer, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, all four tennis Grand Slams, golf and the X Games.
From October 2009 through July 2010, Drake took charge of and devoted his full-time efforts to one of ESPN’s most challenging events ever – the FIFA World Cup from South Africa – overseeing the critically acclaimed production that earned more than 45 industry awards, led by three Sports Emmys for Live Special category, Writing and Music. During the month-long tournament, he led one production team for studio and event. Under his leadership, the crew demonstrated extraordinary teamwork, innovation and creativity which culminated in a stellar multiplatform presentation on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPN3, ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile TV and more. He did the same for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and led the production team and the company at large to unprecedented success, delivering the most-watched FIFA World Cup tournament in U.S. television.
History at ESPN
Drake was named senior vice president & executive producer, event production for ESPN in April 2000. In 2005, he added responsibility for sports programming on ABC. He oversaw all of ESPN on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2’s remote production efforts, more than 6,000 hours per year. In December 2008, he added oversight of ESPN Regional Television event productions.
In 2003, he oversaw the launch of ESPN HD, a high-definition simulcast service of ESPN, from the event production side. He also oversaw production for ESPN 3D, a television network launched in 2010 that featured approximately 100 events. (ESPN 3D was discontinued in 2013.)
Drake has won more than 15 Sports Emmy Awards for productions he spearheaded. He helped build and solidify ESPN’s position as a production leader, driving a variety of innovations including the critically acclaimed “1st and Ten” line for football and the “K Zone” for baseball telecasts, both Sports Emmy winners.
Drake, who joined the network as a producer/director in October 1980, has held various positions in the production department. In 1989, he was named coordinating producer and was promoted to senior coordinating producer in 1992 and to vice president, remote production in November 1996.
Drake has produced virtually every sport that ESPN has televised. Drake spent six months in Australia working on ESPN’s production of the 1987 America’s Cup. He subsequently produced ESPN’s America’s Cup coverage in 1988, ’92 and ’95. Drake was instrumental in ESPN’s successful undertaking of Major League Baseball production in 1990, which included 11 telecasts per week and the network’s extensive studio electronic cut-in operation. Also, in 1988 he directed ABC’s bobsled and luge coverage at the Winter Olympic Games from Calgary.
Prior to joining ESPN
Prior to joining ESPN, Drake worked for two years as a sports anchor at WPTZ-TV (NBC affiliate) in Plattsburgh/Lake Placid, N.Y., where he oversaw the network’s coverage of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. He also served as a freelance production assistant for NBC Sports on the Baseball Game of the Week.
Drake graduated from Boston University in 1978 with a bachelor of science degree in broadcasting/film.