Former Madison Square Garden Sports President Scott O’Neil has been hired as chief executive officer of the Philadelphia 76ers.
O’Neil, 43, ran business operations for the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks and National Hockey League’s Rangers before leaving MSG in September 2012. Before that, the Villanova University graduate worked for the National Football League’s Eagles and for the NBA, where he headed team marketing and business operations.
“I love the NBA and the game of basketball and am thrilled to be back,” O’Neil said in an e-mail. “I have lived in and around Philadelphia for parts of my teens, 20s, 30s and now 40s and I am really excited to be back and get started with the Sixers. This is an incredible city that loves an underdog and that is very much what the Sixers are right now.”
O’Neil, who begins his new job on July 16, will be responsible for every aspect of the team’s business operations, the Sixers said in a statement.
He replaces Adam Aron, who will become chairman and CEO of a new investment vehicle funded by members of a Sixers ownership group that includes Apollo Global Management LLC co-founder Josh Harris.
Aron will remain a Sixers co-owner and board member, the team said in its statement.
“Scott is a smart and proven leader with a strong record of success at both the league and the Knicks and I am confident he will be a tremendous addition to the 76ers,” NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, who’ll succeed Commissioner David Stern on Feb. 1, said in an e-mail.
The 76ers had a 34-48 record this past season, tied for last in the Atlantic Division, 20 games behind the Knicks. Doug Collins stepped down as coach; Tony DiLeo was fired as general manager; and Rod Thorn was shifted to a consultant role from president.
The 76ers in May hired Sam Hinkie from the Houston Rockets to take over as president and general manager. Hinkie had been serving as an assistant to Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey.
“We have put in place a dynamic, industry-leading management team that should help position the Sixers for success both on and off the court,” Harris said in the statement.
O’Neil secured corporate partnerships while at MSG including deals with JPMorgan Chase, Coca-Cola Co. and Delta Air Lines Inc. He wouldn’t disclose terms of his contract.
“The ownership group wants to win and has proven they are committed to invest the resources necessary to create a team that will have sustainable success on and off the court,” said O’Neil, who holds a master’s degree from the Harvard Business School. “Josh is smart, tough and as good a guy as he is a success. I couldn’t imagine finding a better fit for me and my family. This is going to be fun.”