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Brian Sapienza '05 Now a Senior Financial Analyst at ESPN
01.31.13 |
As a former student-athlete and accounting and business administration double major at Lebanon Valley College, Brian Sapienza ’05 has always been comfortable with numbers.

After four years working at ESPN, he was promoted to senior financial analyst in July. He now forecasts and tracks costs for the production of college basketball coverage, as well as the women’s NCAA Tournament, the College World Series, and a number of nationally-televised high school events.

“I started out working for a CPA doing tax returns,” Sapienza said. “That turned into an accounting career, which got me in the door here at ESPN. Now, I’m more on the finance side working college basketball, which is a sport that I love.”

In addition to his academic pursuits, Sapienza played on the soccer team. He still holds LVC men’s soccer records for points, goals, and game-winning goals for his play during the 2001-2004 seasons.

After graduation, an internship at McCarthy & White in Harrisburg turned into a full-time position for Sapienza. He worked there for a year before moving back to his native Connecticut, where he worked in accounting for The Stanley Works tool company (now Stanley Black & Decker) and worked as a financial consultant before being hired by ESPN.

His first role at the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” was as a senior accountant in charge of the accounting for Mobile ESPN, Watch ESPN, and ESPN.com.

In his new role, Sapienza steps out from behind the desk and works with production and remote operations. “If during the first few months of a season we’re trending under cost, I can say, ‘You have X amount of dollars to spend and try to find extras for the rest of the games throughout the season,” he said.

Those extras can include things like “above the rim” cameras, advanced graphics, coach microphones, and better on-air talent. It also allows for the production of special features, such as the “My Home Court” addition used this January that detailed stories many college campuses.

For Sapienza, the perks of working for a large company are plentiful. He attends large-scale events like the Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic in New York City and the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., and has free access to properties owned by Disney, ESPN’s parent company.

“For those interested, ESPN has a number of programs for internships,” Sapienza said. “The biggest programs bring people here to Connecticut to get the full experience on our campus.”

But building the experience necessary for a similar career begins on campus, says Sapienza.

“The biggest help was my business degree,” he said. “One thing you get to do a lot at LVC is work on your presentation skills. Getting that experience in front of a classroom was key because now I’m in meetings in front of all of these different people putting on shows, and I have to take financial information that might be completely foreign to them and tell it in a story that they can understand.”



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