Prominent Roles for Accomplished, Respected ESPN Directors and Producers Announced as New Era of Football on ESPN is Set to Begin
As ESPN embarks on its new 10-year NFL media rights agreement this fall – adding more regular season and postseason games – and with new college football conference media rights approaching, Stephanie Druley, ESPN Head of Studio and Event Production, announced new roles for a group of ESPN directors and producers.
“As we usher in the newest era of NFL and college football on ESPN, consisting of several marquee games each week, we are well-established with a talented, innovative and deep production staff,” Druley said. “In evaluating our entire portfolio, we have many of our accomplished and respected leaders in new areas which best positions us for years to come.”
Directors Derek Mobley and Jimmy Platt will enhance their profiles. Platt, a 20-year industry veteran, will now direct the College Football Playoff National Championship and ABC’s Saturday Night Football each week during the regular season. In the role, he will also direct a CFP Semifinal and the Rose Bowl Game each year.
Mobley, a 35-year veteran, will now direct ESPN’s enhanced NFL schedule, including Monday Night Football each week, one of ESPN’s NFL Doubleheader Saturday Week 18 games, and ESPN’s Super Wild Card and Divisional Round playoff game.
Platt spent more than a decade directing college football, including five New Year’s Six Bowls, before directing Monday Night Football the past four seasons. He also has a wealth of experience across sports, including NCAA Women’s Final Fours and other NCAA Championships, Major League Baseball and the Olympics.
Mobley has directed 15 College Football National Championships, 15 Rose Bowl Games and, as director of ABC’s Saturday Night Football package, the majority of ESPN’s marquee regular-season college football games throughout the previous 17 seasons. Beyond college football, his premier event resume is vast, highlighted by 19 Wimbledon Championships and 15 US Open Championships, including the men’s and women’s finals most years.
Producer Phil Dean will build upon his impressive, high-profile football resume, leading one of ESPN’s marquee college football production units each week and producer Steve Ackels, an experienced producer, coordinating producer and current Vice President of Production, will reunite with Mobley, teaming with him on ESPN’s Monday Night Football and its enhanced NFL schedule.
Dean will be in the chair for a College Football Playoff Semifinal each season and, on a weekly basis, for ESPN’s prominent Saturday Primetime college football package. Dean has been one of the sport’s most experienced producers, having a track record that includes more than 15 years as a leading producer for ESPN’s college football property, multiple College Football Playoff Semifinals, and additional prominent Bowl games.
For the past three seasons, Dean produced Monday Night Football. Outside of football, he was a producer for NBA games for several years and ESPN’s lead college basketball producer for more than 10 years, including the Women’s Final Four for more than 15 years.
Ackels produced college football on ESPN for more than 10 years, and also served in the same roles for college basketball, college baseball, golf, and X Games during different points of his career. Mobley and Ackels have been director and producer teammates on many events, including multiple years as a college basketball tandem both in the regular season and for the SEC Men’s Tournament. Ackels also teamed with Mobley for the College World Series and various golf events.
In recent years, Ackels managed all productions within ESPN’s college football portfolio (more than 1,000 games annually) and Monday Night Football. In that role he had oversight of the College Football Playoff National Championship and Semifinals, which involved Mobley, all bowl games, and ESPN’s NFL postseason games. Ackels was in the same role for this season’s launch of the XFL.
Producers Joshua Hoffman and Bryan Ryder will add new experiences, as Hoffman will produce the critically-acclaimed Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli in conjunction with Omaha Productions, and Ryder will produce NFL games in the weeks ESPN has multiple games (five weeks each season). Additionally, Ryder will produce college football games throughout the regular season and remain as the producer for the NFL Draft on ESPN.
Hoffman has been a producer on one of ESPN’s marquee college football packages producing multiple New Year’s Six games and CFP Semifinals and produced The ESPYs for more than a decade. Ryder produced the first two years of MNF with Peyton and Eli following a long stint as a college football producer.
Senior Vice President Lee Fitting will continue in his role overseeing all football production, including NFL and college, reporting to Druley.
ESPN’s New Era of Football
ESPN’s new era of NFL football begins in the 2023-24 season with a new 10-year agreement, as its NFL regular season portfolio extends to 23 regular season games, which will include flex scheduling, and a Divisional playoff game is added, while still airing the Monday night Super Wild Card game each year. ESPN will also produce two Super Bowls during this newest agreement, following the 2026 and 2030 regular seasons.
In college football, ESPN’s landmark 10-year agreement with the Southeastern Conference – which will feature 15 premier football games and the annual SEC Championship Game on ABC – will begin in the 2024-25 season.
Following the 2022-23 academic season, ESPN’s agreement with the Big Ten Conference will expire.
Contact: Derek Volner ([email protected]) and Lily Blum ([email protected])