Fast Company Names 76ers One of Most Innovative Companies in the World

PHILADELPHIA –– The Philadelphia 76ers, a Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) property, has been named today to Fast Company’s renowned “Most Innovative Companies” list, which honors companies across the world that exemplify the best in business and innovation. The only professional sports team to be named to Fast Company’s 2018 lists, the 76ers organization was honored alongside the world’s most innovative business leaders, including Apple, Amazon, Fanatics, Waze, Equinox, Peloton, Under Armour, Activision Blizzard and the NBA. The iconic 76ers franchise was honored as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Sports for its pursuit of innovation, dedication to entrepreneurship and groundbreaking partnership activations.

“We are fortunate to work in an incredible industry and steward one of the most storied brands in all of sports; and that provides the foundation for the most talented executives in the world think big and pursue innovative ventures that drive the industry forward,” said Scott O’Neil, CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment. “Under the leadership of Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer our organization is challenged and empowered to take risks, push boundaries and own our responsibility and privilege to mentor the next generation of leaders.”

Led by Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, the Philadelphia 76ers’ drive to innovate, support for entrepreneurial spirit, emphasis on creating dynamic partnerships and dedication to the communities where its fans live, work and play has earned the organization recognition and esteem throughout the industry. Fast Company’s honor arrives nearly one year after Entrepreneur ranked the NBA team in the Top 50 in its annual “Top Company Cultures” list. The 76ers have also been named to Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Best Place to Work in Philadelphia” list for three consecutive years and were recently honored as “Best Place to Work in Pennsylvania” by the Central Penn Business Journal.

“We are honored and humbled to receive this special recognition from Fast Company,” said Chris Heck, Philadelphia 76ers President of Business Operations. “The spirit of innovation is at the heart the 76ers’ brand, our fan relationships, progressive partnerships, community engagement and corporate culture. The passion of our employees, inspired by our dynamic players, our Managing Partners, Josh Harris and David Blitzer, and our CEO Scott O’Neil, is woven into the very fabric of our organization.” 

The 76ers innovative initiatives and ventures include the following:   

Fostering a Culture of Innovation: In July 2018, the team officially opened the Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball. With the goal of mentoring future generations of leaders, the Lab incubates early-stage companies with potential, providing startups with unparalleled resources under the direction of Seth Berger, renowned sports industry entrepreneur and Founder of AND1 shoe and sportswear apparel.

Foray into esports: In September 2016, the 76ers became the first professional sports team in the U.S. to acquire an esports franchise. Team Dignitas maintains seven teams in six of esports most popular games and in April 2017, became the first esports franchise in the U.S. to announce a live streaming partnership with Facebook. HBSE’s 76ers Gaming Club (GC) will be one of 17 teams to compete in the NBA 2K League’s inaugural season this spring.  

Industry Changing Partnerships: In May 2016, the 76ers became the first “big four” professional sports team in the U.S. to sign a jersey patch partner, StubHub. Later that year, the progressive NBA team and StubHub launched the first ticketing platform designed to merge the primary and secondary ticket marketplaces together into one unified purchase process.

Best-in-Class Athlete Care and Player Development: The Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex opened in September 2016 in Camden, New Jersey. At 125,000-square-feet, the state-of-the-art facility is unparalleled in size and scope in the NBA. In the coming weeks, the 76ers and partner, BPG, will also break ground on the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington, Del., a 140,000-square-foot arena that will serve as home to its NBA G League team.

Dedication to Generating Lasting Change in Communities: Under the direction of Harris and Blitzer, the Philadelphia 76ers believe it is its responsibility and privilege to use the game of basketball to support and inspire youth in the communities where the team’s fans live, work and play. Through its “Project 76” initiative, 76ers employees each pledge 76 hours of community service annually; resulting in more than 11,000 hours of volunteer service.

Most Innovative Companies is Fast Company’s signature franchise and one of its most highly anticipated editorial efforts of the year. It provides both a snapshot and a roadmap for the future of innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy. “This year’s MIC list is an inspiring and insightful window into how many companies have embraced innovation and are working to make meaningful change,” said Fast Company deputy editor David Lidsky, who oversaw the issue with senior editor Amy Farley.

Fast Company's Top 10 lists recognize pioneering companies across 36 categories, from artificial intelligence to wellness. More than three dozen Fast Company editors, reporters, and contributors surveyed thousands of companies—many of which were identified by a new MIC submission process—to create these lists. 

Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March-April 2018) is now available online at www.fastcompany.com/MIC, as well as in app form via iTunes and on newsstands beginning Feb. 27.  

MORE INFORMATION:

For more information, contact Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Lara Toscani Weems at LaraToscani@76ers.com or 610-675-8153.

ABOUT THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS:

The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the most storied franchises in the National Basketball Association, having won three World Championships, earning nine trips to The Finals and making 47 playoff appearances over 68 seasons. The Philadelphia 76ers organization is a Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment property.

ABOUT HARRIS BLITZER SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

Founded by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) includes in its portfolio the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey Devils, leading venue Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., the GRAMMY Museum Experience Prudential Center, the Delaware 87ers, the Binghamton Devils, the Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball, and renowned esports franchise Team Dignitas. Led by some of the best and brightest minds across a diverse spectrum of industries, HBSE positions itself as one of the most pioneering, innovative global sports and entertainment businesses to date. HBSE also strives to positively impact the local communities in which it operates through the powerful platform of sports. For more information, visit www.hbse.com

ABOUT FAST COMPANY:

Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethical economics, leadership, and design. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, one of the U.S.’s leading media companies. 

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