Career High

A U alum navigates the exciting and unpredictable world of sports PR

You’ve got to love athletics with a passion when you work in PR at a 24/7 sports network, says Danny Chi BA’01, senior director of communications and West Coast publicity for ESPN.

“It’s a lot of work... not a typical Monday to Friday job,” Chi explains. Every game carries the potential for a crisis, from commentator gaffes to serious injuries. But despite the demanding nature, Chi can’t imagine himself doing anything else. 

“I’m truly blessed,” says the self-described diehard fan. “If you love sports, this is the epicenter.”

Chi’s career journey started his senior year at the U, when an advisor told him of an internship opportunity with Nike—his favorite brand—and their communications team for the 2002 Winter Olympics. 

“I was so fortunate to work during the Olympics, because it allowed me to meet folks from all over the world and see the levels at which comms professionals operated,” he notes. 

The connections he made led to a job post-graduation at an entertainment PR agency in Los Angeles, working on campaigns for TV shows, movies, and sporting events. He was all in for the sports, but the Hollywood stuff—not so much.

“The client I felt most connected to was ESPN,” Chi recalls. “Sports are unscripted—they tell their own stories. You never know what those stories will be, but they come from some of the most amazing people.”

When the network offered him a job, he jumped at the chance. Chi oversees media relations initiatives at ESPN’s L.A. studios, with a focus on communications strategy for the National Hockey League, the X Games, and ESPN’s 34 owned and operated college sporting events. His job brings him face to face with some of the world’s most famous athletes, but Chi says he rarely gets starstruck—except when meeting former Utah players.

“Everybody knows I’m the Utes guy at ESPN,” he smiles.


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