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Lyn Jeffers

The Architect of Sports & Entertainment Media

DadLyn Jeffers was one of those people everybody else loved being around, making the lives of those he touched so much richer.
He was also a visionary – and it was his incredible ability to see into the future that laid the foundation for what is now Sports & Entertainment Media, LLC.

From Greeneville, Tenn., Jeffers graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in Communications in 1969. Soon after, he landed a job as a sports writer at the Johnson City Press-Chronicle, where he would ultimately also cover politics. Midway through the ‘70s, he took his family, wife Marilyn, and sons J.J. and Andy, and left the newspaper business to work in public relations for Beech Mountain & Carolina Caribbean Corporation, which owned Tweetsie Railroad and The Land of Oz theme parks.
And then came along and rewarding career with NASCAR that lasted a quarter of a century. Twenty of those years were spent working with sports giant, ESPN.

Jeffers was, to say the least, an “idea” kind of guy – and he was a marketing mastermind. He had a love of racing and NASCAR and as early as the late ‘70s and early ‘80s the sport began benefitting from his genius. First working to bring sponsorships into the sport, Jeffers’ knowledge and savvy within racing drew the attention of ESPN, which started covering NASCAR in 1981. A couple of years later, CBS installed a camera in Cale Yarborough’s race car, a new and innovative way to give the viewer a bird’s eye view of what was happening in the cockpit. Jeffers realized there was no sponsorship, no advertising inside the car. And if there were in-car cameras, why in the world weren’t they taking advantage of some pretty amazing revenue opportunities? A few years later, Jeffers’ brainchild of selling sponsorships with the in-car cameras came to fruition. And as they say, the rest is history. The in-car camera is now a staple of every NASCAR racing broadcast with multiple drivers carrying them during events while numerous sponsors garner plenty of the all-important screen time.Lyn Jeffers Booth at Daytona

Jeffers worked with what was; the Craftsman Truck Series, Busch Series and Winston Cup Series all through NASCAR’s popularity explosion in the ‘90s and he and his company were growing as well. And then, life threw him a nasty curveball. In 2005, Jeffers was diagnosed with a brain tumor. An eternal optimist, Jeffers continued to work with his son, Andy, teaching him the tricks of the trade. The two worked on the company’s name too, focusing more on the media side to take advantage of Andy’s background, which involved writing and video production which he had done for several cable networks and the University of Tennessee athletic teams. Jeffers knew the company was in good hands and when he died in 2006, Andy took the reins of Sports & Entertainment Media, LLC.

They say you can tell a lot about the life a man has lived by the number of mourners at his funeral. When Jeffers’ died, the line of friends, who included the likes of broadcasters Mike Joy, Bob Jenkins and University of Tennessee sports information director Bud Ford, was long. Some who traveled from New York, Indiana, North Carolina, Maryland, and Texas waited as long as two hours to pay their respects.Lyn Jeffers was a brilliant businessman and a marketing whiz, for which he is certainly remembered. But talk to the likes of Darrell Waltrip and Ned Jarrett, whom he counted among his many friends, and it was his zest for life, his love for his family and his unquenchable spirit that they recall first.

His vision, which revolutionized NASCAR, and his legacy, live on through Sports & Entertainment Media, LLC, and through Andy. In a life that was certainly well-lived, Lyn Jeffers’ definitely covered all of the bases and earned more than his share of checkered flags

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