Mark S. Shapiro, 92BA, knew what it takes to achieve a competitive advantage in the world of sports as early as third grade. Thats why its easy to understand how this University of Iowa graduate launched a cable-access sports show in high school, landed an internship with NBC Sports while he was still in college, and began a prestigious career with ESPN right after his UI graduation.
The Glenville, Illinois, native made good use of his time at Iowa, completing a bachelors degree in communication studies while simultaneously interning—and then working—for NBC Sports. He got started on his career path as an intern in Cedar Rapids for a CBS affiliate, then as an intern with NBCs SportsWorld in 1989. He quickly moved up the ranks to become a production assistant for a variety of events and shows, including the NBA Finals, the Super Bowl, Wimbledon, NFL Live, and the Breeders Cup.
In 1991, the hardworking student was promoted to associate producer, a role he held while covering a variety of national and international sporting events, including Notre Dame football and the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. By the time Shapiro graduated from Iowa in 1992, he already had four years experience in television production and programming to his credit.
Such experience might help explain his swift rise to professional fame. Within just ten years of graduation, Shapiro had earned a place among Sports Business Dailys Top 40 Under 40, Sporting Newss Power 100, and Hollywood Reporters 35 Promising Executives on the Rise, and had six Emmy Awards to his credit. In 2003, Shapiro was named a rising star in Entertainment Weeklys annual 101 Most Powerful People in Show Business. His meteoric ascent in the field of sports broadcasting took off at ESPN, which hired the accomplished UI alumnus as a production assistant on the call-in show Talk2 with Jim Rome in 1993. One year later, Shapiro became a producer, working on the daily interview show Up Close and eventually producing ESPNs Emmy and Peabody Award-winning SportsCentury: the Top 50 and Beyond.
Only nine years older than the ESPN network itself, Shapiro has distinguished himself there as a visionary and energetic leader. In 2001, he became senior vice president and general manager of programming. Just one year later, he was promoted to executive vice president of programming and production.
Today, Shapiro is responsible for the development, acquisition, and scheduling of all programming for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Regional Television, and ESPN Radio. He oversees all remote and studio production for ESPNs domestic and international entities and for ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE), which includes the X Games and ESPN Outdoors.
The Westport, Connecticut, resident doesnt have a typical desk job, however; his office has no desk at all. It contains a podium, telephone, sports memorabilia, and a coffee maker. Shapiro thinks on his feet, pacing his office and fielding fast-paced work demands.
By combining his personal passion and professional experience with his valuable UI education, Mark S. Shapiro has established himself as a talented and unstoppable force in the arena of sports production and programming.