Summer Reflection Series: Bringing Brand Solutions to the ESPYs

By Connor Morin — Men's Lacrosse '21

This summer I had the opportunity to participate in an 11-week internship with ESPN. The team I worked for was responsible for developing revenue-driving, multiplatform opportunities that connect client brands with ESPN and sports fans across the Disney Advertising Sales portfolio. 

Each Sports Brand Solutions team is assigned to various sports and properties and are expected to be experts in those areas. ESPN is a division of the Walt Disney Company and the advertising teams work across all facets of Disney out of the New York City office. 

The team I was on is responsible for the ESPYs and X-Games. I also had exposure to e-sports and College GameDay. Each day we worked on developing activations for our clients such as Cadillac, Gatorade and Capital One, to name a few. 

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What I noticed and enjoyed were the similarities between this job and my experience as a Notre Dame lacrosse student-athlete. Each day we worked together as a team to develop programs, analyze the business and conduct conference calls with our clients. Each person brought something unique to these meetings such as financial acumen, creative development or relationship management, just as each of my Irish teammates bring their unique skills to the lacrosse field.

One of my favorite experiences was attending the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles. Our team spent a week on-site, preparing the venue for our clients. We created different spaces for each brand that the athletes would interact with during the event and ensured sponsorship signage and activations met the specifications promised by ESPN.   Finally, I met with the talent and instructed them in how they would walk the red carpet or participate in activations.

When the evening of the event arrived, I worked on the red carpet and met all the superstars I have followed for years. The red carpet was an incredible experience. As part of our activation with Gatorade, I helped move the Gatorade Athletes of the Year around the red carpet, through their interviews and into the Gatorade lounge where they showcased their new product. 

After the show wrapped, we went to the after-party to once again  make sure the sponsorship programs were met. The venue was one of the most creative and incredible spots I have ever been in, and the ways sponsors were integrated into the event made it something special. 

At the actual party, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to many different athletes such as Paul Rabil, Drew Brees, Zion Williamson and Brooks Koepka along with others. This alone made the experience unforgettable! It was very gratifying for my team, because once the event is set up, all you can hope for is that your creation leads to a fun environment that showcases our client’s brands. 

Outside of work I had the opportunity to spend time with some of my Notre Dame lacrosse teammates, who were also interning in the city, and had the pleasure to attend a Monogram Club networking event at Rockefeller Plaza. I also spent a few weekends at the shore, hit the gym every week and played in a couple of lacrosse tournaments.  

I had a great 11-week internship, enjoyed living in New York City and look forward to next year!

Connor Morin is a rising junior on the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team.