Live Data and Graphics Presentation Specialist SMT Hires
ESPN’s Former Senior Vice President of Production Innovation to Oversee
Company’s Next-Generation Sports Technology Platforms
DURHAM, N.C., September 21, 2016 – SMT (SportsMEDIA
Technology), the best-in-class provider of live data integration, real-time
graphics presentation and video enhancement solutions for live sports telecasts
and live entertainment productions, today announced that former ESPN executive
Jed Drake has been named SMT’s Executive Vice President of Emerging
Drake, a 15-time Emmy Award winner with over three decades
of ESPN experience in sports production and technology, will oversee the
development and implementation of SMT’s next-generation, sports information,
graphics presentation, and player tracking systems.
Drake will work closely with the leaders of SMT’s Research
and Development, Engineering, and Client Development departments as well as
directors of live events and creative teams to build and market SMT’s emerging
technology platforms. Particular focus will be on SMT’s data integration
products and graphics visualization tools for NFL’s Next Gen Stats. Drake will
report directly to SMT founder and CEO Gerard J. Hall and will be one of seven
members of SMT’s corporate division.
Drake joined ESPN in 1980, just after the cable network’s
first year of operation. Jed quickly
built a reputation for over-delivering on virtually every project and property
assigned to him, whether tennis, soccer, or baseball. He rose through the sports production ranks
from producer, to coordinating producer, to senior coordinating producer to VP
of all remote production at ESPN. In the ensuing years, Drake, as Senior Vice
President and Executive Producer, was instrumental in helping to build and
solidify ESPN’s position as a production leader, driving a variety of
innovations for coverage of the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, Monday Night
Football, Wimbledon, The Open Championship, the X Games, MLB and the NBA. Drake
is perhaps best known for championing the first on-air production use of a
Yellow First Down Line system for football and the ESPN K-Zone system for
baseball, both Emmy award winners.
Most recently Drake oversaw development of next generation
technology systems as ESPN’s Senior Vice President, Product Innovation. This
included ESPN Virtual 3, the live virtual three-point line used in NBA and
college basketball broadcasts; the Emmy-nominated ESPN Pylon Cam, which debuted
August 2015 on Monday Night Football; and live player tracker systems used
throughout 2014 season of Monday Night Football, the 2014 MLS Cup and the 2015
College Football Player National Championship.
“Jed Drake has demonstrated time and again, over many years,
that he understands how to harness and apply technology to enhance analysis,
story-telling, and the viewer experience,” said SMT founder and CEO Gerard J.
Hall. “Jed’s background and work history perfectly aligns with SMT’s corporate
Mission Statement. It will be exciting
to watch Jed hit the ground running here at SMT. His innovative thinking, tireless work ethic
and uncompromising approach to producing high-quality results will push SMT to
create and package the next generation of unique tools and visual presentations
for the benefit of our clients.”
“Gerard and I have shared a great deal of success over the
last 20-plus years. This opportunity to expand our relationship to a full-time
collaboration comes at a perfect time in my career,” Jed Drake, SMT’s Executive
VP of Emerging Technologies said. “SMT has an incredibly talented team of creative
thinkers and brilliant engineers, many of whom I’ve known for some time. SMT is
a very special place with an unparalleled track record and reputation for
excellence. Our industry is moving very fast, and SMT is going to be the
leading disruptor by a large margin. It’s an incredibly exciting time, and I am
thrilled to be coming on board.”
Drake graduated from Boston University in 1978 with a
bachelor of science in broadcasting/film. He lives in Rhode Island with his
wife, Suzy Leech, and daughter, Nicole, and has two grown children, Jed Ryan
Drake and Darby Drake.
Hall and Drake have a 25-year working relationship dating
back to 1991 when SMT first began providing services to ESPN.
According to Hall, “An accurate history of ESPN would not be
complete without at least one chapter dedicated to the positive influence of
Jed Drake on the network’s growth and success.
His fingerprints are all over the early innovations and successes upon
which ESPN built its reputation and distinguished itself from its peers. Jed’s vision and efforts were essential
elements of ESPN’s success. Clearly, a person with Jed’s deep and valuable
experience can write his own ticket in our industry. SMT is honored that of all the opportunities
that were presented to him, Jed has chosen to join our team.”
SMT built its reputation in the United States broadcast and
live event production industries as a pioneer, innovator, and best in class
provider of live sports data integration and real-time graphics enhancements.
Most recently, SMT is at the forefront of the real-time application of object
tracking technology in live sports. In
addition, SMT designed, developed and supports the official scoring systems,
the official statistics systems, and the official on-site live presentation
systems for the NBA, the NHL, The PGA TOUR, NASCAR, the CrossFit Games, all
four golf majors and all four tennis slams including The US Open, Wimbledon,
Roland Garros, and the Australian Open.
SMT has been awarded 20 Emmy Awards, as well as two Telly
Awards, a Davey Award and a PromaxBDA award.