Chuck Pagano, who joined ESPN prior to its debut on September 7, 1979 as a technical director, was named ESPN’s first chief technology officer on August 1, 2011. In this role he continues to serve as ESPN’s executive vice president of technology, a position he assumed in 2005 but adds duties across The Walt Disney Company. He is responsible for all technology sectors within ESPN, including television, radio, and new media, as well as research and development. He previously served as senior vice president, technology, engineering and operations (1999 – 2005), where he led his department and oversaw engineering, operations, facilities and new technology.
Under Pagano’s leadership, ESPN has advanced television technology throughout the industry including developing the first 3D network in the United States, ESPN 3D; bringing virtual enhancements such as EA Virtual Playbook to studio and remote TV telecasts and expanding its technological footprint around the globe. These are a few of the accomplishments that led ESPN to be named as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in 2011 (#17). The team was also recognized by Fast Company in 2010 and 2011 as the Most Innovative in Sports (#1).
In August, 2011, ESPN announced it would build a second digital center on the main campus in Bristol, Conn. This new facility is being built by Pagano’s team and adds to the advanced technical production facilities already in place at the main campus as well as the Los Angeles Production Center, which his team opened in 2009. The LAPC signaled ESPN’s push to the West Coast and is the world’s first 1080p HD facility. The LAPC is a 77,000 square foot state-of-the-art HD facility that provides ESPN with three production control rooms, two master control rooms; eight craft edit suites, a music room, a voiceover room and two studios (both of which total more than 12,300 square feet).
Pagano was the key driver in the creation of ESPN’s Bristol-based Digital Center, one of the most technically sophisticated television production facilities in the world. Assisting in production of the networks high definition services, ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD, the Digital Center opened on June 7, 2004. Outfitted as an all-encompassing digital resource, the building contains over seven million feet of cable and four HDTV studios totaling 20,000 square feet (9,000, 5,000, 3,000 and 3,000) that are home to all ESPN Bristol-based studio shows.
Previously, Pagano had served as senior vice president, engineering and technology from 1995 to 1999 and his duties included spearheading ESPN’s technology-related strategic planning. Prior to that he served as vice president, engineering project development (1994-95), director, operations and engineering project development (1992-94) and manager, engineering project development (1989-92). He served as a systems engineer from 1983-89. He joined ESPN in August 1979 as a technical director.
Before joining ESPN, Pagano worked for WFSB-TV, the CBS affiliate in Hartford, Conn., as a technician (1977-79). Pagano (half-) jokingly says he joined ESPN to cut his commute in half.
Pagano currently serves on the Board of Regents at the University of Hartford as well as on the Board of Advisers for the College of Engineering. He also serves on the Tunxis Foundation Board for Tunxis Community College in Farmington, Conn., and is a board member for The Palace Theater in Waterbury, Conn., and is a board member and first vice chair for the Connecticut Technology Council.
Pagano has received many honors for his visionary and creative approach to both technology and his approach to management:
- He was honored as one of four “technology wonks” in The Sporting News‘ 2003 “Power 100″ rankings.
- Also in 2003, he was awarded SportsTV Production Magazine’s All-Star Award as recognition for his leadership and excellence in sports television production and technology.
- In 2004, he was awarded the “Technology Leadership” award from Broadcasting and Cable Magazine as recognition for his many contributions to sports television production and high definition television (HDTV) technology rollout, implementation, and planning.
- He was bestowed with the honor of being named as one of the honorees in the 2004 CableFAX 100, profiling top cable industry influences.
- He once again received an honor from The Sporting News’ “Power 100” list in 2006, coming in at no. 90.
- He was the recipient of the 2012 Vanguard Award for Science & Technology presented by the NCTA.
- In October 2012, he will be inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
A native of Waterbury, Conn., Pagano received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1984 and a master of science degree in organizational psychology in 2007, both from the University of Hartford.