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O’Neil departs as HBSE chief executive

Scott O’Neil has today (Wednesday) announced his exit as CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), parent company of NBA basketball franchise the Philadelphia 76ers and NHL ice hockey team New Jersey Devils, along with the latter’s Prudential Center home arena.

O’Neil has been in the role for eight years, but has elected to step away from the organisation in order to pursue new opportunities. Under O’Neil’s leadership, HBSE was built from a single-entity team, the Sixers, to a sports and entertainment franchise that now spans two professional teams, an esports business, a leading arena and entertainment business, and several growth and venture investments across sports technology.

He oversaw construction on the largest training complex in professional sports, the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex, established the Sixers Innovation Lab, and helped the NBA team become the first US professional sports franchise to acquire a leading esports team, Dignitas.

Additionally, O’Neil became acting co-managing partner for Elevate Sports Ventures, a sports and entertainment agency he helped to create in January 2018 through a partnership between HBSE, Live Nation Entertainment-Ticketmaster, NFL team the San Francisco 49ers and Oak View Group.

He also helped create HBSE Venture Fund and HBSE Real Estate to round out the organisation’s portfolio. “I would like to thank (HBSE co-founders) Josh Harris and David Blitzer for inspiring, engaging and empowering me to bring together the most talented executive team in sports and entertainment,” O’Neil said.

“HBSE is the best organisation 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.

“This company has grown through a culture of extraordinary teammates willing to be innovative, having the discipline to do the work, and a 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.”

As part of his departure, SportBusiness.com reports O’Neil is also selling his silent limited partnership in HBSE having reached a buyout agreement on the shares with Harris and Blitzer. “Scott has accomplished so much on behalf of the organisation in a relatively short amount of time, driving our growth, culture, and commitment to strengthening the communities in which we live, work, play, and win,” said Harris.

“I cannot overstate how much we value Scott’s enormous contributions to the company and how grateful I am for his leadership and partnership in creating a best-in-class culture at HBSE. We know he will find great success in whatever he chooses to accomplish in the future, and we will always be among his biggest advocates.”

Image: New Jersey Devils