Scott O’Neil is a dynamic leader who inspires teamwork and drives business results.
As Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), New Jersey Devils (NHL) and Prudential Center, the state-of-the-art multi-purpose arena located in Newark, N.J., O’Neil oversees the business operations of three of the top brands in sports and entertainment.
O’Neil had a measurable impact on the culture of all three businesses when he assumed the CEO position in August 2013. With the belief that talent wins, he recruited an enviable roster of the top people in the industry, and he continues to invest in creating the most energizing, challenging and inspiring workplace in the world. O’Neil’s annual “Go Forward” leadership retreat brings together senior staff members from all three business units to strengthen company values, build relationships, share ideas and boost business efficiencies. He also spearheaded significant changes to customer service by partnering with Ritz-Carlton (Devils/PruCenter) and Disney (Sixers) for fan engagement training.
The dramatic culture shift and O’Neil’s steadfast focus on sales has resulted in unprecedented success across all three brands. The Devils and Sixers are among the leaders in key metrics in their respective leagues, including new season ticket holder growth and season ticket renewal rate. In 2014, Prudential Center had its most successful season in its seven-year history, including an attendance record set by George Strait and a move into the top-10 ranking of national arenas by Billboard, Pollstar and Venues Today. The critically acclaimed arena, together with the Devils, was named NJBiz’s 2014 Business of the Year and gained national attention as the host of NFL Media Day for Super Bowl XLVIII and the Special Olympics USA Games Opening Ceremony.
O’Neil believes that sports and entertainment offer a platform to change the world, and he recognizes the important role that each organization plays within their communities. His implementation of the internal service programs “76 Hours” (Sixers) and “82 Hours” (Devils/PruCenter) offer company time to each employee to give back to the community and are the foundation of the hundreds of hours staff members spend helping the cities of Philadelphia and Newark.
O’Neil creates innovative partnerships and connects with today’s influencers. His success over more than 20 years in the industry has been cultivated through matching powerful brands, including Madison Square Garden, the NBA and the Philadelphia Eagles, with unique, trendsetting opportunities.
By leveraging the attraction of live sports and entertainment across two markets – Northern New Jersey and Philadelphia – O’Neil has transformed the way national companies and area business market their products and services in the region. He has pioneered groundbreaking deals with a focus on creating original platforms to grow a partner’s business using one-of-a-kind access to legendary sport franchises and the top touring acts in the world.
Featuring marquee events at Prudential Center as the background, including Stevie Wonder and The Eagles, O’Neil initiated the NJ100 program, designed to bring together C-suite executives from New Jersey’s top businesses. These exclusive events, which have featured A-list guest speakers, including music mogul Irving Azoff, have set the standard for business entertainment in the state.
A member of Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame, O’Neil is a sought-after speaker who has delivered keynote addresses at the largest sports industry conferences in the world, including Leaders in Sport, Beyond Sport and World Congress of Sport. He has made numerous appearances on CNBC and Bloomberg television, and has nearly 11,000 followers on Twitter, where he interacts daily with fans, media and partners. O’Neil published two cases for the Harvard Business School in 1998, Success Factors in Minor League Baseball and Balancing Work and Family. He also published a book in 2000 titled Fantasy Land to the Rat Race, a guide for young executives in the workplace.
O’Neil is a board member of the regional chapters of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Big Brothers Big Sister of America. He serves as an Alternate Governor for the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, and is actively involved in the Sixers and Devils’ foundations, which are dedicated to improving the lives of youth in the Philadelphia area and across the state of New Jersey. O’Neil holds a degree in marketing from Villanova University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Lisa, have three daughters.