Scott O’Neil, chief executive of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), is leaving the company after eight years in the role to pursue new challenges.
Under O’Neil’s leadership, HBSE expanded from owning the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Philadelphia 76ers to boasting several other marquee assets, including the National Hockey League’s (NHL) New Jersey Devils. O’Neil also helped build the company into an all-encompassing sports and entertainment franchise that now includes esports and arena businesses, in addition to sports technology investments.
Other highlights during O’Neil’s spell include the creation of the Elevate Sports Ventures agency, as well as HBSE Venture Fund and HBSE Real Estate to round out the company’s portfolio. Under his watch, the Sixers also become the first team in the US’ big four leagues to sign a jersey patch sponsorship.
“HBSE is the best organization I have ever been a part of, with the highest degree of difficulty I have ever encountered, and the most fun I have ever had, because every day brought a new opportunity to learn and develop,” said O’Neil.
“This company has grown through a culture of extraordinary teammates willing to be innovative, having the discipline to do the work, and courage to lead from the front. While I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my time here, I am even more excited to build, grow, and drive my next platform.”
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Sophie Goldschmidt, the former chief executive of the World Surf League (WSL), has joined Fast Studios as an advisor. Hal Sadoff has also joined the content studio as an advisor, while Leigh Radford, senior vice president and founder of P&G Ventures, has joined the board of directors.
Digital agency Sotic has hired Francesco Mariola as head of business and appointed Roland Mercer as head of operations and Jonathan McConnell as head of client relationships.
The Sportfive agency’s head of Asia-Pacific and president of global sales, Adrian Staiti, is stepping down in the coming months to take up a role at a different company, according to SportBusiness.