Scott O’Neil has stepped down as CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, ending an eight-year run in which he helped develop one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment companies.
O’Neil’s exit from Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment is effective immediately, though he will assist with the search for his successor.
“I’m not riding off into the sunset,” O’Neil said in an interview. “I like big opportunity.” While he wasn’t specific, O’Neil said he would like to build another platform in sports, entertainment, media and technology.
O’Neil was a limited partner in HBSE, which owns a number of assets, including the NBA and NHL clubs, multiple esports teams, a venture fund and the Prudential Center, home of the Devils. He and HBSE partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer reached an agreement on a buyout of that stake, O’Neil said, without providing specifics.
O’Neil has also been serving as co-managing partner of Elevate Sports Ventures, a consulting firm launched in 2018 by HBSE and the San Francisco 49ers. He will step down from the Elevate board, but will retain his equity stake.
Under O’Neil’s leadership the value of the HBSE assets has mushroomed. The Sixers alone were valued at roughly $415 million in 2013. The team is now worth $2.5 billion, according to Sportico’s latest rankings.
“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,” Harris said in a statement. “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.”
O’Neil was hired by the 76ers in 2013, about a month before Harris and Blitzer, who purchased the team in 2011, announced their acquisition of the Devils. The group launched HBSE in 2017, and the scope of its current work now includes new verticals like real estate and venture investing.
“We are immensely grateful to Scott for his partnership over these past eight years of unprecedented growth,” Blitzer said in a statement. “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.”
Prior to joining HBSE, O’Neil spent four years as president at Madison Square Garden. He also spent nearly a decade in the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division, known in the industry as TMBO.