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When Lorie McCarthy joined Turner Sports as part of the sales team 10 years ago, Turner was televising Atlanta Braves baseball games, the Goodwill Games and some professional golf.
Today, as senior VP and general sales manager for Turner Sports Ad Sales, McCarthy heads a team of more than 35 in offices in five cities across the country and oversees sales efforts across Turner sports properties that include the NBA, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the PGA Tour and the recently added NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
McCarthy, the highest ranking female executive in Turner Sports Ad Sales, now reports to longtime Turner exec Jon Diament, executive VP Sports Ad Sales, who three years ago succeeded Trish Froman, who hired McCarthy.
“Women thrive at Turner,” McCarthy says, adding that there are female execs selling sports advertising for Turner across the country. “I’ve been here for 10 years, and most of the women who come here wind up staying.”
After first working at Lifetime television and then as VP/media director at BBDO, McCarthy joined Fox ad sales in 1994, shortly after the network had won its first NFL TV rights deal. In her eight years at Fox, she sold various types of advertising, including primetime entertainment, kids and sports.
“I love sports and I wanted to specialize, so when the job opened up at Turner, I jumped at the chance,” she says.
McCarthy adds that her goal when she joined Turner was to help elevate cable sports sales to where it was on par with broadcast— a goal that was clearly helped by Turner acquiring all the additional TV sports rights along the way.
Today McCarthy serves as the main bridge between the professional sports leagues and Turner, and also as sales liaison with CBS, Turner’s partner in televising the NCAA tournament.
She says there are many more women on the media agency side who are involved now in buying sports advertising for their clients. “Today, the women I negotiate with from the agencies all understand the value of sports advertising for their clients and are open to and embrace innovative ideas we offer,” McCarthy says.
While McCarthy sees a good mix of male and female sports sales people at Turner, she admits that growing up with four brothers taught her how to work in a male environment. And she credits her male sales colleagues for helping contribute to her success. “I’ve been surrounded by great men here who have offered me great support, shown patience and helped me sharpen my sports skills,” McCarthy says.
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