August 11, 2021

Episode 126: How to Be Where Your Feet Are with Scott O’Neil

Episode 126: How to Be Where Your Feet Are

Scott O’Neil is the formerChief Executive Officer of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, an organization with the mission of building passionate, high-performing teams that inspire people to enhance the communities where its teams live, work, play and win.

With more than 20 years of experience in the NBA, NHL and NFL, O’Neil has earned a reputation as a leader of leaders and is one of the most connected, dynamic and driven executives in the industry today. Previous executives whom he has mentored and managed run many of the top organizations in sports and entertainment today; those he currently manages are poised to lead the industry into the next generation.

O’Neil’s reputation for authentic leadership, unparalleled drive to innovate and emphasis on the importance of corporate culture has placed him at the forefront of the industry vanguard. In merely six years overseeing operations for the properties in HBSE’s portfolio, O’Neil led the Philadelphia 76ers to sign the first jersey patch sponsorship in “Big Four” sports history; construct the most technically advanced training complex in professional sports, the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex; establish an industry-leading Innovation Lab, and become the first U.S. professional sports franchise to acquire a world-renowned esports team. In that same period, under O’Neil’s ambitious and aggressive leadership, Prudential Center has become a top seven and top five most-played venues in the U.S. and the world by Billboard and Pollstar, respectively, and welcomes over 1.75 million fans and event attendees through its doors annually.

As former President of Madison Square Garden Sports, O’Neil was the key architect in some of the largest venue sponsorship deals in history while overseeing iconic sports properties including the New York Knicks (NBA) and New York Rangers (NHL). O’Neil spent seven years as the Senior Vice President of the NBA’s renowned Team Marketing and Business Operations group, where he advised NBA, WNBA, and NBA Gatorade League teams on all business operations, CRM Department and NBA Canada business. Earlier in his career, O’Neil served as the President of HoopsTV.com and held positions with the Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) and New Jersey Nets (NBA).

For almost a decade, O’Neil has served as an Alternate Governor for the NBA and NHL. In 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 the Philadelphia Business Journal named O’Neil to their “Power 100” list of the “most influential people” in the greater Philadelphia region; he additionally received Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Most Admired CEO” honor in 2018. In 2019, The Hockey News named O’Neil No. 37 on their list of “100 People of Power and Influence.” In 2019, Hashtag Sports honored O’Neil with an award for “Leadership in Supporting Diversity in Sports.” Sports and technology outlet, SportTechie, named O’Neil as 2017’s “Most Innovative Executive”; in 2016, Philadelphia Magazine declared him one of the “Most Innovative Leaders” in Philadelphia. He has been twice named to The NJBiz “Power 100” list. As a young executive, O’Neil was thrice recognized at Sports Business Journal’s acclaimed “Forty Under 40” Awards; launching him into the publication’s renowned “Hall of Fame.” He additionally received “Forty Under 40” honors from Adweek and Sporting News in 2006 and 2005 respectively.

O’Neil’s influence and experience have earned him a place at the podium at some of the largest industry conferences in the world, delivering keynotes at events such as: Leaders in Sport, Beyond Sport, Sports Business Journal’s World Congress of Sport, the IEG Pivot Conference, the Ivy Sports Symposium, Sports Marketing Association’s Conference and more. O’Neil’s leadership practices have been chronicled and applauded in The Outward Mindset by the Arbinger Institute, publishers of The New York Times Best Seller, Leadership and Self Deception, The Orange Revolution by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, and Potato Chip Ticket Sales by Kathy Burrows. He has made numerous appearances on CNN, CNBC, FOX Business Network, and has twice co-hosted Bloomberg television’s Bloomberg. He also interacts daily with his nearly 20,000 Twitter and 35,000 LinkedIN followers. He serves on the boards for the March of Dimes, Zoomi Inc., the Sixers Youth Foundation and the Sixers Innovation Lab.

O’Neil earned his bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Villanova University and his master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He currently resides in Pennsylvania with his wife, Lisa, and three daughters.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What went into Scott’s decision to step down as CEO at Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment
  • What the event was that drove Scott to start writing and how that eventually turned into his incredible book ‘Be Where Your Feet Are’
  • How Scott came to embrace being a builder and a change agent 
  • What holds the most meaning for Scott from his time at HBSE
  • How you can accomplish anything in your organization when you have incredible people and an extraordinary culture
  • Why the trip Scott took to Mozambique with his daughter to help build schools was so powerful
  • Why it is powerful to recognize when the people you have hired have developed greater expectations of the culture than you have for it and to step back and let them take things to the next level

Additional resources:

Scott O’Neil’s book- Be Where Your Feet Are

Scott O’Neil’s LinkedIn

Scott O’Neil’s Twitter

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