With a career spanning over 20 years and credits that include FIFA World Cup, Winter & Summer X Games, Sports Center, seasonal sports package for the NBA, College Football and NFL Monday Night Football, Claude Mitchell has set himself apart as a leader in the innovative use of music in sports production.
Combining sports, music and business savvy, Mitchell leads the Music Department as Coordinating Director of Music at ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports. Mitchell and his team are key players in defining the sound of the network. ESPN relies on Mitchell and his team of ten to manage the creation of original music; oversee and negotiate licensing deals with artists like Coldplay, Big & Rich, Nelly, U2 and Bruce Springsteen, coordinate placements for artists in content & events across all of ESPN’s media platforms and oversee in-house sound design and audio mixing of pre-edited features. It is no wonder that Mitchell has contributed to many Emmy Award winning productions, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup – U2 & Soweto Gospel Choir campaign, winner of the 2011 Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics.
Developing a passion for music from a young age, Mitchell honed his ear listening to Jazz, R&B and Rock as a teenager in Staten Island, New York. Influenced by the genre defying DJ’s on local NY radio and the diverse music his closed knit family listened to, Mitchell learned an appreciation for a variety of genres that has served him well throughout his career.
An avid sports fan, Mitchell was an exceptional runner and member of the track team at St. Peter’s High School. His passion for track led him to run competitively in his early years at Syracuse University. As his academic career took root, the Economics Major eventually had to sacrifice his passion for running to focus on academics. Little did he know, his enthusiasm for sports would later combine with his love of music and ultimately define his career path. On his role at ESPN, Mitchell comments, “There are not many jobs where I could combine two of my favorite passions into a career. ESPN gives me that while providing great, new experiences and challenges every day.”
Developing an expertise for licensing and managing songwriting & producer talent for over 10 years in music publishing, Mitchell seamlessly transitioned to television and joined ESPN in 2000, immediately getting a crash course in how shows get on the air in an incredibly fast-paced environment. “One of the amazing things about joining such an innovative environment is the constantly evolution.” Mitchell notes. “It provides opportunities for creative solutions to new business and technology challenges on an ongoing basis.”
That constant evolution allows Mitchell to expand his knowledge base and grow as a creative executive. His talent for management and understanding of sports and music provide him with a unique perspective that fits perfectly within the organization and assure that he will have continued success at ESPN and beyond.