Dave Coletti: ESPN's Real 'Stat Boy'

Worldwide Leader’s digital guru expects continued adoption of technology by viewers

B&C's 2012 Digital All-Stars

With apologies to Pardon
the Interruption
’s Tony Reali—
who is affectionately referred
to as “stat boy”—ESPN’s actual “stat boy”
is Dave Coletti.


“Digital Dave” (as he’s known around the
home office in Bristol, Conn.) serves as ESPN’s
VP, digital research & analytics. Coletti is
charged with managing
the team that is responsible
for understanding
all aspects of audience
behavior across the
company’s digital properties,
which include
ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile
and WatchESPN.
“We’re looking at traditional
Web traffic, mobile
smartphone traffic,
tablet usage and video
player usage, whether
it’s on a tablet, computer
or an Xbox,” Coletti
says, defining the parameters.

Coletti likes what the numbers are telling
him. “The one overarching theme is that
there’s clearly a continued acceleration of
digital usage,” he says. Coletti believes that,
as digital platforms become more and more
a part of ESPN viewers’ lives, those numbers
will continue to rise. “We see nothing but
increased usage across
all of our digital platforms,”
he says.

Coletti credits ESPN’s
multiplatform content
as a key reason why
the Worldwide Leader
in Sports on television
is also a digital leader.
“Our content is designed
to live across all
of the media that we
play in,” he says. “You
see this flow of audience
across devices,
across platforms, across
all of our content.”

The exec, who has been with ESPN since
1998, has been lauded for vigorously promoting
the use of time-based metrics to
evaluate ESPN’s digital assets, which was
quickly adopted.

Coletti’s influence expands far outside of
ESPN’s walls. Sales presentations to agencies
and clients usually begin with an introduction
to “average minute audience” and how
ESPN performs compared to the competition.
He also serves on the research committees
of several leading trade organizations,
including the Online Publishers Association,
Interactive Advertising Bureau and Media
Rating Council, as well as serving on senior
client advisory boards of both comScore and
Nielsen Online.

And Coletti sees no reason why he—or
ESPN’s digital growth—will slow anytime
soon. “We see the continued adoption of
technology by the consumer to fulfill their
needs and to follow content in the best available
way,” he says.