Los Angeles Times

ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro is fighting the cord-cutting wave

When the 2019 NFL draft took over downtown Nashville last month, ESPN became a city within the city, with more than 600 staffers and freelancers on site, and its top executive, Jimmy Pitaro, surveyed the scene like its mayor.

Pitaro shook hands and introduced himself to every ESPN employee in his path as he toured the red brick brewery on Honky Tonk Highway where the sports media behemoth was based for 90 hours of live draft coverage. ("I'm Jimmy," was his opening line.) But the New York Giants fan in him took over when he ran into "NFL Primetime" host Trey Wingo.

"Tell me real quickly - what are the Giants going to do?"

Wingo told Pitaro that his fellow ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. was certain the Giants were targeting Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, a prediction that proved correct several hours later.

Such insider information is why Pitaro, 49, loved ESPN as a sports-obsessed schoolboy athlete in Edgemont, a Westchester County, N.Y., hamlet 15 miles north of Yankee Stadium. "I grew up as a huge ESPN fan, not just a sports fan," he told The Times.

His passion

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