ESPN Promotes Maria Soares to SVP of Production and Content Strategy
Maria Soares, who has been with ESPN since 1992, has been promoted to ESPN senior vice president, production and content strategy, says Norby Williamson, executive editor and head of event and studio production. She was previously vice president, production.
In her new role, Soares will be responsible for the morning and afternoon editions of SportsCenter, including the noon ET show on weekdays and morning shows on weekdays and weekends. Additionally, she will oversee the content creation and distribution strategy for studio production, focusing on maximizing ESPN’s audience through strategic efforts, via SportsCenter, ESPN+, Event Production, Digital, sport-specific studio shows and more.
She will also manage ESPN’s industry-leading universal news group, which drives editorial decision-making, strategy and logistics across platforms, in addition to responsibility for the universal coverage group, which includes ESPN’s bureau staffs (reporters/producers), coverage producers and assignment editors.
“In her distinguished tenure at ESPN, Maria has shown a consistent drive for results, while remaining ever-focused on serving sports fans of all backgrounds,” Williamson said. “Maria is an innovator and a strategic thinker, who always brings new ideas, passion and strong business acumen. She has played an integral role in positively influencing countless projects over the years and is widely respected for her emphasis on the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Maria spent the first 25 years of her career on the ESPN International and ESPN Deportes businesses. In doing so, she has overseen those event production teams, studio programs, the digital video team, the global assignment desk, the talent office and some of the group’s biggest projects. She has played a critical role in the launch of more than 10 ESPN networks, and the video support of more than 12 global ESPN.com editions. Maria’s day-to-day has always involved producing content in multiple languages, while collaborating with other ESPN production facilities around the world.
Most recently, she added oversight for the global soccer production unit — established in the fall of 2021 — encompassing all soccer produced for ESPN across all global regions and platforms. On the college sports side, Maria has led the coverage of NCAA Volleyball and NCAA Gymnastics since 2019.
Maria joined ESPN in 1992 while in her last semester studying Broadcast Journalism at Emerson College (where she graduated cum laude) to develop a new Portuguese-language network to be launched from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters for distribution throughout Brazil.
During her tenure at ESPN, Maria has accumulated a long list of production credits, including four Olympic Games, four Pan American Games, the 2000 Home Run Derby (the launch of ESPN Deportes), the first-ever, Spanish-language coverage of the X Games, and numerous Super Bowls, Grand Slams, Cricket World Cups, and Major Soccer Championships.
Maria sits on several ESPN groups, including Editorial Board, the D&I Executive Council and the Executive Women’s Forum. She is a graduate of the WICT Betsy Magness Leadership Institute and the WISE Women’s Executive Leadership Institute (WELI). She is a native of the Azores islands and speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish.
Soares will replace Jill Frederickson, who announced earlier this year her plans to retire from the company later this month. She will report to Williamson.