Ed Desser is the President of Desser Sports Media, Inc. (“DSM”), a California-based consultancy serving the strategic media business needs of the sports television industry. He has more than 40 years of experience in the sports media industry, negotiating major deals in the local, national and international TV marketplaces, and serving a diverse group of sports and media clients. He has a BA in Economics from UCLA and an MBA in Marketing from USC. More details are available at www.desser.tv.
For 23 years, Desser served in the Commissioner’s Office of the National Basketball Association, ultimately as President of NBA Television and New Media Ventures, L.L.C., and Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning and Business Development. He was the chief negotiator for all NBA and WNBA national media agreements, and served on the NBA Board of Governors Planning Committee. Desser also invented and spearheaded the launch of NBA TV, the first league-owned national cable sports network, personally handling the affiliate distribution agreement negotiations. His responsibilities included harnessing new media and digital technologies for the NBA, designing and launching nba.com and all team websites; creating the NBA League Pass outer-market games subscription package, where he negotiated all related carriage agreements with MVPDs, established the league’s broadcast regulatory framework and as VP/General Manager of NBA Entertainment, Inc., and VP/International Television, developed the league’s TV distribution business, growing the NBA’s media footprint to 200 countries Including China, and Spain.
In 2005, he founded Desser Sports Media, Inc. (DSM), which specializes in (i) conducting regional, national and international media rights negotiations; (ii) performing strategic media planning, rights valuations and creating business plans for new TV networks, (iii) supporting work for mergers & acquisitions, litigation/expert witness, and generally assisting professional sports teams, leagues, conferences, programmers and distributors in overall business development towards maximizing media rights values.
DSM has negotiated more than 70 sports rights deals, advised over 30 professional sports teams with respect to their media rights and served leagues and governing bodies including the NFL, MLB, NBA, MLS, PGA Tour, Big 12 Conference, CFL, PRCA, PBA, UFC and NHRA, where he was also named to the Board of Directors. DSM has advised on over $27 billion in sports and media transactions to date.
In 2011, Desser led the Los Angeles Lakers in connection with then the largest regional sports media rights deal in TV history and the country’s most significant RSN transaction in a decade. In addition, DSM has provided services to media companies including Tribune Company, DIRECTV, Fox, Time Warner Cable, Rogers Communications, TELUS, and Videotron. Other examples of Desser’s work include expert and fact witness services in arbitration, litigation, and mediation support including in O’Bannon et. al. vs. NCAA and NBC Universal vs. major MVPD. DSM has also negotiated on behalf of, advised Staples Center and professional sports team owner Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), McKinsey & Co., Qualcomm, Goldman Sachs, and Maple Leaf Sports + Entertainment.
Desser was also an expert witness for Major League Baseball in the Los Angeles Dodgers bankruptcy proceedings, and then for Fox Sports in a related matter, then represented Joe Torre and Rick Caruso in their bid to purchase the team. Later, he valued the Dodgers media rights for the Hollywood Reporter (estimating a result very close to that ultimately negotiated), and represented Time Warner Cable in connection with its record-breaking Dodgers media rights acquisition in 2013.