Sixers announce exit of longtime CEO Scott O’Neil
O'Neil oversaw several changes to the 76ers during his time as CEO.
After eight successful years guiding Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) through exponential growth and expansion, CEO Scott O’Neil has elected to step away from the organization in order to pursue new opportunities. O’Neil has over two decades of leadership experience within the sports and entertainment industry, including his most recent tenure with HBSE, a leading sports and entertainment company centered around marquee assets, the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
“I would like to thank 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. “Josh and David are extraordinary leaders, partners and friends. Their commitment to our teams, brands, employees – and most importantly – their commitment to serving the City of Philadelphia, Newark and Camden – made our success together possible. To be trusted with the opportunity to steward epic brands – as well as buy, build, integrate, acquire, and grow complimentary businesses to create HBSE as it is today – has been the ride of a lifetime, one for which I am humbled and grateful.”
“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. 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.”
“Scott has accomplished so much on behalf of the organization 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 HBSE Co-Founder Josh 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.”
“We are immensely grateful to Scott for his partnership over these past eight years of unprecedented growth,” said HBSE Co-Founder David Blitzer. “His ambition, strategic outlook, and innovative mindset have been and will continue to be instrumental to the long-term success of our business. On behalf of everyone at HBSE, we thank Scott for his transformational leadership, drive and passion, and we look forward to celebrating his future successes.”
Under O’Neil’s leadership, HBSE was built from a single-entity team, the Sixers, to an all-encompassing sports and entertainment franchise that spans two professional teams, an e-sports business, a leading arena and entertainment business, and several growth and venture investments across sports technology. He led the Sixers to sign the first jersey patch sponsorship in “Big Four” sports history, oversaw construction on the largest and most technically advanced training complex in professional sports, the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex, established an industry-leading Innovation Lab, and became the first U.S. professional sports franchise to acquire a world-renowned esports team. Additionally, he became acting Co-Managing partner for Elevate Sports Ventures, a sports and entertainment agency he helped to create in a partnership between HBSE, Live Nation Entertainment | Ticketmaster, the San Francisco 49ers and Oak View Group. He also helped create HBSE Venture Fund and HBSE Real Estate to round out the portfolio.
During his time with HBSE, O’Neil and his team were recognized for his impact in creating an innovative and best-in-class workplace and workforce, with the Sixers being named one of the “Top 50 Cultures” in the nation by Entrepreneur (2017). O’Neil’s leadership and role as a change agent within the sports and entertainment industry was widely lauded, as Philadelphia Magazine recognized him one of the “Most Innovative Leaders” in Philadelphia. Sports and technology outlet SportTechie named O’Neil as 2017’s “Most Innovative Executive,” and most recently, the Sixers were bestowed five Clios, including one for “Team of the Year” in 2021.