Last year, when she earned her first Women
in the Game honor, Karen Brodkin, then
senior VP, business and legal affairs for Fox
Cable Networks, was busy finishing up a 10-
year, $220 million TV rights deal with the
Pac-12 conference that she negotiated. This year,
as she is being honored once again, Brodkin has
an even bigger title, and has been even busier,
inking new and renegotiated major sports media
rights deals for Fox Sports Media Group.
In the past year Brodkin was directly involved
in finalizing a seven-year multimedia rights deal
for Fox with Ultimate Fighting Championship,
the world’s largest mixed martial arts organization.
She also took part in renegotiating with
Major League Baseball to get the league to schedule
more games on Saturday nights for Fox’s new
live sports block, and with the NFL on a nineyear
extension to the current TV rights deal that
was set to expire after the 2013 regular season.
Brodkin also oversaw the negotiation efforts
by Fox that led to the $425 million winning
bid for men’s and women’s FIFA World Cup
soccer from 2015-22.
Since joining Fox Sports in 1998, Brodkin has
been instrumental in completing hundreds of
sports programming rights deals and on-air talent
agreements, and has developed relationships
with college conference commissioners and athletic
directors and professional sports league executives
across most of the major sports.
“I’ve become a lot busier,” says Brodkin, adding
that the length of these new deals and the
digital components make negotiations much
more complex. “With the NFL rights extension,
the agreement was announced in December, but
we are still working out details like digital rights,
production enhancements and sponsorships.”
Brodkin says the UFC deal was agreed
upon, interestingly enough, via a handshake
last July on the Friday before the baseball All-
Star Game, with the entire weekend being
spent hammering out the details.
She is currently talking with NASCAR about
moving more races to Saturday nights on Fox.
In other words, like the season spans of the
sports she negotiates for, there’s never a lull.
“We are always talking with our sports
league partners,” she says. Brodkin is no longer
the lead negotiator for these rights deals
but, as she puts it, “I am deciding what the big
picture of the deals will encompass.”
And as a good leader always does, Brodkin
is quick to praise her team. “I have a group of
extraordinarily talented lawyers working for
me, handling the day-to-day stuff. That allows
me to think more big-picture.”