Senior Vice President, Production and Chief of Staff to ESPN President
Tina Thornton – who joined ESPN directly out of college in 1993 – was named senior vice president, production and Chief of Staff to ESPN President in July 2018.
In this role, Thornton serves as an advisor to ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro and his direct reports, providing insight and input into all matters related to ESPN’s vast businesses. She also works with the leadership team to identify new opportunities and risks, and facilitate discussion and decisions across the team and the segment as part of the senior leadership team.
In addition to the Chief of Staff responsibilities, Thornton continues to oversee three business units at the company; Production’s Management Operations team, made up of production management, production scheduling and business/personnel operations, ESPN Next – a dynamic career development program for employees across our content division and ESPN’s corporate synergy group, a new responsibility as of April 2019.
Thornton was named senior vice president, production and multimedia sponsorship integration and management operations in May 2015. This role included oversight of the Management Operations team, the former Content Associate Program & the Multimedia Sponsorship Integration unit (MSI), which she handled until March, 2019. The MSI team works with sales to maximize multimedia revenue by integrating sponsorships and collaborating across the company on sales implementation, issue resolution and innovative executions.
From 2001-2014, Thornton led the production of ESPN’s NCAA Championships coverage, overseeing 24 events including wrestling, lacrosse and the Women’s College World Series. From 2001 to 2016, Thornton led ESPN’s women’s basketball coverage, including the NCAA Women’s Tournament and Final Four.
Thornton joined ESPN as a production assistant in 1993. From 1994-1998, she worked as an associate producer on a variety of events, including ESPN’s Sunday Night Football, Big Ten college football, college basketball, the NFL Draft and several X Games and Winter X Games. Thornton served as coordinating producer from 1998-2006 for a variety of ESPN Outdoors programming, including the Bassmaster Tour, the Bassmaster Classic and the ESPN Great Outdoor Games. She was promoted to senior coordinating producer in 2006.
In 2012, Thornton and ESPN’s Rosalyn Durant were selected as mentors in the first year of the Global Sports Mentoring Program initiative run by espnW and the U.S. Department of State. The program is now entering its eighth year.
A Cincinnati native, Thornton graduated from Wake Forest University with a bachelor of arts degree in communications in 1993. In 1999, she completed the Simmons College Program for Developing Managers. From 2002-05, Thornton served a three-year term on the Wake Forest Alumni Council, representing nearly 40,000 alumni worldwide. In 2019, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Mercy College.
In September 2019, Thornton was named to the class of Sports Business Journal Game Changers and in September 2017, she was named one of Women in Cable Television’s “Woman to Watch”, an accolade given to three women in the industry each year. She also participated in the Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) Betsy Magness Leadership Institute from 2005-06 (Class XII). Thornton is currently a volunteer youth lacrosse coach in her hometown.