Fox Sports’ announcement that Seth Winter is stepping down as head of advertising sales, to be succeeded by Mark Evans, should have come as no surprise.
Winter has never made any bones about how long he’d stick around at Fox Sports; just a short time after assuming the role as the unit’s ad sales chief, he said he was looking forward to what he’d characterized as his “second retirement.”
Winter, who joined Fox Sports in January 2019 after having sold inventory for NBC for the better part of 20 years, first told us that he wasn’t planning on putting in serious Brady-with-the-Pats time at his new gig. In an interview conducted on the eve of Fox Sports’ April 2019 upfront pitch, the sales vet said he was especially looking forward to booking time in Super Bowl LIV and the upcoming World Series, before adding that he probably wouldn’t stick around to shift units in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“I was 62 the first time I retired, so I jumped at the chance when Marianne [Gambelli] asked if I was ready to come back off the bench,” Winter recalled. “It’s a privilege to work here, and it’s been a real joy to get back into the game, but eventually I’m going to have to make room for someone who’s just a little younger than I am.”
Gambelli, who serves as the president of ad sales for the Fox Corporation, worked alongside Winter during her own NBC tenure. She first asked Winter to come pitch in at Fox Sports in Fall 2018, during the week after the Labor Day holiday. It didn’t take much coaxing to get him to jump back into network sales, although Winter had never fully retired. Though he officially stepped down from his NBC post in October 2016, Winter served as an adviser through 2018, running herd on sales of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LII.
While he’s still as enthusiastic about the sports biz as he’s ever been, Winter has enjoyed a career in TV sales that has spanned 43 years. He got his start as an account exec at WDCA-TV in 1978, just as the indie D.C. station began airing Washington Bullets and Capitals games. After jumping to WOR-TV in New York, Winter sold time in Mets games, as well as in Bowling for Dollars and … Benny Hill. (“Boy, that was a tough sell,” Winter joked in 2019. “No one could understand anything he was saying!”)
Winter got called up to the Big Leagues by NBC at the turn of the century, and was upped to senior VP of the NBC Sports sales and marketing team a few years later.
A graduate of Georgetown, Winter is without question the only ad sales exec with degrees in theology and government.
Winter will close the book on his career in February 2022, whereupon he’ll be succeeded by Evans, a longtime Fox exec. Evans, who joined Fox in 1994, currently serves as senior VP of sports brand partnerships. Among the blue-chip clients in his portfolio are T-Mobile, Ford, Geico and General Motors.
Evans will report directly to Gambelli.
“I’ve worked with Mark for over 20 years and can think of no one better to lead this dynamic group at this moment in time,” said Fox Sports CEO and executive producer Eric Shanks, by way of announcing the promotion. “I’m extremely proud of the client relationships this team has built and look forward to more in the years to come.”
“Having Seth as a teammate at Fox Sports has truly been a highlight for all of us,” Shanks added. “We will miss his exuberance and zest for this business we all love, and we wish him well with everything he does in the future.”