President, Desser Sports Media
Ed Desser is President of Desser Sports Media, a California-based sports consultancy that specializes in serving the strategic media needs of sports rights owners. The company was founded in 2005, following Desser’s more than 30-year career in sports, media, radio and television. Its clients include a variety of teams, leagues, and other rights owners.
Desser’s career began in local broadcasting in Southern California, when he also received a BA in Economics from UCLA and an MBA in Marketing from USC. In 1977, he became Executive Producer of the LA Lakers network, and in 1978, was hired by California Sports, owner of the Lakers, Kings, and Forum as Director of Broadcasting and Executive Producer of all radio and television broadcasts for both teams.
In 1982, Desser became Director of Broadcasting and Executive Producer for the National Basketball Association. Responsibilities included national network administration, scheduling, contract negotiations, policy planning, development of production and arena standards, and assisting teams with local rights negotiations.
In 1984, he assumed the position of VP/General Manager, NBA Entertainment, the league’s full-service TV production arm. Responsibilities included CBA negotiations, real estate matters, HR, content sales, and bottom line responsibility. NBAE produces a number of weekly and daily network programs for national and international distribution including NBA Inside Stuff (NBC/ABC), NBA Action (FSN), NBA Match-up (ESPN), and Vintage NBA (ESPN Classic). NBAE also produces the nightly highlights and news programming for NBA TV and NBA.com.
In 1987, Desser was also named VP/Television for NBA International. The division was responsible for growing the distribution of NBA programming to more than 9000 hours in 200 countries worldwide, and production of world feeds of major NBA events. NBA International was the first in-house operation in this area for any US league.
As NBA began its quest to develop new media opportunities, Desser was named President of NBA Television and New Media Ventures. Over the next 10 years, he spearheaded the exploration and development of a variety of new media technologies ranging from High Definition TV (first used for an NBA game in 1991), Direct Broadcast Satellite (1994), NBA.com (1995), real-time statistics (1996), NBA TV (1999), and Satellite Radio (2002). Other new initiatives included the launch of the WNBA and the NBA’s Development League, and business relationships with Intel, AOL, and Yahoo!.
During this period of dramatic technological growth, Desser was also instrumental in the negotiation of the NBA’s landmark national television agreements with NBC, Turner Broadcasting, ABC, and ESPN, which resulted in more than twelve-fold revenue growth and substantially increased distribution. He led the NBA’s Business Planning, and was a member of the NBA Board of Governors' Planning Committee.