When David Sternberg accompanied Fox Sports Net president Bob Thompson on a business trip to Brazil a while ago, he left a lasting impression on Thompson. It wasn’t just Sternberg’s business acumen or his knowledge of international sports issues that wowed his boss, but as Thompson put it, “He was able to speak Portuguese.”
In fact, Sternberg, Fox Sports’ executive vice president of emerging networks, actually speaks five languages. And he has been impressing Fox executives since he first burst on the scene six years ago. The 36-year old Sternberg oversees three of Fox Sports’ networks, and has his sights on potentially bigger roles with the company’s burgeoning sports division.
In 1998, Sternberg joined Fox Sports as director of business development for Fox Sports International, the production and programming arm that encompasses all of Fox’s foreign- language sports services. It wasn’t long before he was named vice president and general manager of the division.
In 2002, Sternberg added operational oversight of Fox Sports World and Fox Sports Español. Under his purview, Fox Sports World, currently in 20 million homes, and Spanish language-based Fox Sports Español, seen in 6.5 million homes, rank among cable’s fastest-growing sports networks.
If that weren’t enough, Sternberg took over the reigns of startup action sports network Fuel. Targeting young sports fans, the network gained an impressive 10 million households within its first year of existence. “Within Fox we’re known to be an entrepreneurial group, and David embodies that,” says Thompson. “Every position that we’ve put him in, he has performed extremely well.”
He also serves as general manager for Fox Sports Middle East, Fox Sports Israel and Fox Sports Eastern Europe — all services wholly owned by Fox. And he oversees Fox’s collaboration with Global Television in Fox Sports World Canada.
Thompson says Sternberg’s ability to speak French, Spanish, Portuguese and German along with English has been a tremendous benefit for Fox. “From an international standpoint, it’s extremely helpful to have an executive who can speak the local languages,” Thompson said. Sternberg, whose grandmother is Mexican, says being immersed and exposed to different cultures has prepared him well for is current position. But long term, he says he’d like to take a greater role in the “general market” sports business at Fox. “For now,” he says, “I have a lot on my plate. And I have a team that will work with me and keep me on the path to success.”