Deborah Montiel

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Deborah Montiel doesn’t work for a mammoth cable operator or a network that is part of a giant corporate family. Montiel, known as Didi, is vice president of marketing for GolTV, the tiny, independent soccer network founded by soccer star Enzo Francescoli in 2003.

She has often been the only woman executive in the room, but she says she’s never been treated differently. Instead, what is most striking about her job is dealing with the fiscal constraints she constantly faces. Similarly, Montiel is glad that GolTV’s first women’s soccer game ever drew big ratings—not because she thought it was breaking ground for women, but because it could eventually build new audiences, and thus bring in new advertisers.

“I don’t have a big budget, so I have to make sure we are consistent with our message of who we are,” Montiel says, adding that with such a small staff, she also pitches in on ad sales and affiliate sales, and that everyone on her team remains open to ideas from their colleagues. “We all have input here,” she says.

Recently, the network developed a branding campaign that would show everyday situations and how passionate fans will go to great lengths to get their soccer fix. But when the estimate for the four spots to be produced came in at well over $100,000, Montiel was forced to scramble. She got someone to let them use her house instead of a studio; they used the network’s own equipment; and they got two spots produced for a total of $20,000. “And they’re darned good spots, too,” she says. The campaign launches in August. “I’d rather spend that other money putting the spots in front of consumers,” she adds.

Montiel, who recently became a soccer mom (her son plays on a travel team), has another idea to get the GolTV brand in front of people without spending much money. She is in negotiations to bring out a child friendly soccer ball with the GolTV brand on it.

“That would get us into Wal-Mart and Target and other places we aren’t usually seen,” she says.

Stuart Miller

Stuart Miller has been writing about television for 30 years since he first joined Variety as a staff writer. He has written about television for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, Vulture and numerous other publications.