Upfronts Diary: Jimmy Pitaro makes his debut at ESPN's sales pitch, while Kenny Mayne skewers the ad biz



ESPN had a number of objectives in mind as it hammered out its 2018-19 upfront presentation, its first major sales pitch since the departure of John Skipper. Not only did the network seek to use the big show to introduce its new president, Jimmy Pitaro, but it also looked to pound the singular advantages of buying inventory in live sports, while leaving enough time to allow Kenny Mayne to launch into his annual goof on the state of the advertising industry.

A master of the art of projecting an aura of nonchalance that forever threatens to mutate into complete indifference, the puckish Mayne usurped Pitaro's big introduction, wandering out onto the stage at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre as the new president was given his cue to greet the crowd of advertisers.

"All the money deals run through me now," Mayne announced, before rattling off some of the highlights of his rsum to the disbelieving crowd. "You don't think I can handle this responsibility? I went to Wenatchee Valley Community College! I went to UNLV, which is sort of the Harvard of the west."

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adageeditor@adage.com (Anthony Crupi)