Managing Director, Sixers Innovation Lab
Seth Berger earned his MBA in 1993 from the Wharton School and his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from University of Pennsylvania in 1989. Seth has been the CEO of four businesses in the consumer space, and his fifth “venture” has been to build an elite high school basketball program as Head Coach. In these ventures, Seth has started with a hyper focus on the understanding of the target consumer, with the philosophy that every consumer business must meet and communicate a specific consumer need to survive. After that, he has worked to create branding and marketing strategies to drive messaging that sticks in a world of constant consumer messaging.
AND 1 — 1993-2000, 2002-2005
As Founder and CEO of AND 1, he ran an upstart basketball sneaker, apparel and entertainment company. After starting out selling screen printed tee shirts in 1993, the Company moved into the broader apparel and footwear market. AND 1 reached its height it 2001, when it attained the No. 2 spot in the US basketball footwear market. At its peak, AND 1 had revenues of $285 million, including its licensees. In addition, AND 1’s entertainment division created the Mix Tape tour and Streetball, an ESPN series that was the No. 1 rated show among male teens, eclipsing SportsCenter. AND 1 also donated more than 5 percent of its annual profits to youth-based charities. In 1999, the partners sold a stake in the business to TA Associates, a venture firm out of Boston. In 2005, the company was sold to American Sporting Goods, a private shoe company based in Irvine, Calif.
HoopsTV.com — 1999-2001
Seth served as CEO of HoopsTV.com from 1999-2001. He helped raise $15 million in financing for the business, hired its staff, and launched a site dedicated to basketball fans all around the world. Despite negotiating a partnership deal with ESPN.com, the business was unable to generate enough revenues to continue, largely because broadband capabilities were not strong enough to sustain its business model. Seth shut the business down in 2001.
Lightning Gaming — 2005-2006
In the fall of 2005, Seth took on a part-time CEO role for another start up, Lightning Poker. This business was the brainchild of Brian Haveson, former CEO of Nutrisystem. Brian was traveling the country as a professional poker player, and he approached Seth with his idea and patent. Seth helped raise $1 million in financing, hired a staff, created an automated poker table, and negotiated an international distribution deal with Shufflemaster, a public company. After 12 months, he turned the Company back over to Brian, as part of their original agreement for his term of service. Lightning Gaming now holds many slot machine licenses, in addition to its original product, and is a non-traded public company. More information can be found at www.lightningpoker.net.
Gravy Train — 2011-2012
Seth self-funded a small venture in the mobile gaming space. GravyTrain created a Facebook game, “imthnkgof” (I am thinking of), and launched it in December of 2011. Although the idea was executed well, the market for these games started to crash, led by Zynga, and Seth shut down the business before wasting too much money.
The Westtown School, Westtown, PA, 2007-Present
Seth is currently the Head Boys Basketball Coach at The Westtown School, in Westtown, PA. He has had this role for 12 years, and was an assistant for two years before that. His teams have a 72 percent winning percentage, and they won their league title seven of the last eight seasons. The team won the state championships in 2016 and 2017, and have four runner-up finishes. The Westtown program is a high level athletic and academic program that has helped many kids move on to play Division 1, 2 and 3 basketball in recent years. When Seth took over the program, the team had a 3-15 record in his last year as an assistant, and it had only won one basketball league title in 1986.
He and his wife, Christelle — also a Wharton School graduate — have three boys. They also have guardianship of five brothers from overseas who attended the Westtown School and now live with the family. Prior to Wharton, Seth was Legislative Director for US Representative Harold Ford, Sr. from 1989-1991. He was, at 21-years old, the youngest Legislative Director on Capitol Hill. As an undergraduate at Penn, Seth was a four-year letter winner, captain and MVP of the Sprint Football team. He played one year of junior varsity basketball. Seth also received the Bowl senior award for service to the community. He is still waiting for his first 10-day contract in the NBA.
Rhyan Truett is the Director of Operations at the Sixers Innovation Lab, where she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Innovation Lab, including consulting, partnership and portfolio company management.
Prior to joining the Innovation Lab, Rhyan held roles in business operations and public relations with the Philadelphia 76ers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers.
Rhyan earned her B.A. in Public Relations from Rowan University. She graduated with an MBA, Sport Business and M.S. in Management from the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management program at the University of South Florida.
Scott O’Neil is the Chief Executive Officer of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, an organization with the mission of becoming the most impactful sports and entertainment company in the world through the pursuit of innovation and performance, the industry’s most passionate and driven executives and engagement in the communities where its properties live, work, play and win.
O’Neil is responsible for the organization’s leadership, strategic vision, operations and growth, including the pursuit and acquisition of sports, entertainment and consumer-facing properties. He is the acting Chief Executive Officer over all properties within the organization’s portfolio and under the ownership of Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, including: the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), the New Jersey Devils (NHL), Prudential Center, a top five-ranked performance venue in the U.S. located in Newark, New Jersey; Team Dignitas, an internationally renowned esports team, the Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball, the GRAMMY Museum Experience Prudential Center, the Delaware 87ers (NBA G League), and the Binghamton Devils (AHL).
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.
The sports industry veteran’s reputation for authentic leadership, an unparalleled drive to innovate, and an emphasis on the importance of corporate culture has placed him at the forefront of the industry vanguard. In merely five 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 largest and 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 ten and top five most-played venue 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.
Of his professional accomplishments, O’Neil considers his organizations’ corporate culture and dedication to community service his greatest successes and future legacy. The Philadelphia 76ers have been named one of the “Top 50 Cultures” in the U.S. by Entrepreneur (2017), three-times named a “Best Place to Work in Philadelphia” by the Philadelphia Business Journal (2016, 2015, 2014), and named a “Best Place to Work in Pennsylvania by the Central Penn Business Journal (2017). Prudential Center was named a “Best Business” by NJBiz (2016). O’Neil’s belief that those who steward iconic sports and entertainment brands have the responsibility and privilege to use those platforms to mentor the next generation of leaders and make the world a better place is the driving force behind HBSE’s community engagement initiatives.
Recognizing the important role HBSE’s properties play within its communities, O’Neil’s employees individually volunteer 76 hours of service annually in the communities where their fans and patrons live, work and play, resulting in more than 30,000 hours of dedicated community service each year. The Philadelphia 76ers’ charitable endeavor, the Sixers Youth Foundation, has additionally raised more than $1 million for Philadelphia-area youth last year alone and is leveraging sports to help children in need.
The former President of Madison Square Garden Sports, O’Neil has had the opportunity to oversee some of the most iconic brands in all of sports, including the New York Knicks (NBA) and New York Rangers (NHL). O’Neil was the key architect in some of the largest deals in history, resulting in record-setting revenue in sponsorships, tickets and suites, while helping in transforming the “World’s Most Famous Arena” forever. Preceding his post at MSG Sports, 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 Development League teams on all business operations. Earlier in his career, O’Neil served as the President of HoopsTV.com and held positions with the New Jersey Nets (NBA) and Philadelphia Eagles (NFL).
O’Neil serves as an Alternate Governor for the NBA and NHL. O’Neil’s influence and experience has 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, Sport 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, as well as in The Orange Revolution by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. He has made numerous appearances on CNN, CNBC, FOX Business Network, and has twice co-hosted Bloomberg television’s Bloomberg
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 daughters Alexa, Kira, and Eliza, who oversee the family’s charitable organization, Give and Be Happy.
As President of the Philadelphia 76ers, Heck oversees content, marketing and branding, ticket sales and service, sponsorship sales and activation, innovation strategy and business development. Tasked with the goal of rejuvenating the sales and branding operations for one of sports most storied franchises, Heck endeavored to fuse the legendary 76ers heritage with the spirit of the new Philadelphia fan.
Under his supervision, Heck led the 76ers to a No. 1 ranking in new season ticket memberships and doubled the new season ticket member fan base, while maintaining a top-five ranking in the National Basketball Association’s season ticket member customer service surveys. With Heck’s guidance, the 76ers sold the five largest partnerships in franchise history, increased corporate partnerships by 30 percent annually and established Patriot Partner and Training Complex founding partnerships.
Heck played a critical role in groundbreaking initiatives that solidified the 76ers’ place as an innovative force in the industry today. Through Heck’s leadership, the 76ers secured the first jersey patch sponsorship in “big four” sports history and developed an industry-changing ticketing platform with partner StubHub. He played a critical role in the development of the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex, home to the Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball, where he holds a seat on the Lab’s Board of Governors.
Prior to the Philadelphia 76ers, Heck served as the President of Business Operations for the New York Red Bulls (MLS), and with the NBA as Senior Vice President in the league’s renowned team marketing and business operations arm where he advised NBA teams on ticket sales and service, sponsorship development and marketing, managed the NBA’s Canadian business and oversaw all business and marketing for USA Basketball’s Senior Men’s and Women’s National Teams. Heck has held senior positions with Villanova Sports Properties, the Miami Heat and Philadelphia Eagles.
Named to Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 list in 2008, Heck holds a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University and has served as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University. He currently serves on the Board of Advisors for MSP Sports, Cooper’s Ferry Board of Directors, the Sixers Youth Foundation and Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Mary Beth, have three children and reside in Wilmington, Delaware.
In her role as one of the Philadelphia 76ers most senior leaders, Katie O’Reilly is responsible for the branding and business development for one of the sports industries most iconic properties. As Chief Marketing Officer, O’Reilly oversees the direction of the team’s brand, creative and marketing solutions, game presentation, social media, digital and video content, VIP events and hospitality, customer relationship management, business development and merchandise departments. Now entering her fifth season with the 76ers, O’Reilly and her team are the brains behind the widely acclaimed “Welcome to the Moment” advertising and “Spirit of the Champion” tribute campaigns as well as new branding initiatives including the recently unveiled 2017-18 season Nike uniforms.
During this tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers, O’Reilly oversaw corporate business development for the team’s new 150,000-square-foot Training Complex; including the creation, development and launch of the Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball, on which she currently holds a position on the Board of Governors. Additionally, O’Reilly spearheaded the creation of the 76ers Legends Walk – commissioned sculptures of past 76ers greats that lives permanently at the 76ers Training Complex.
A 2016 Philadelphia Business Journal “40 Under 40” honoree, O’Reilly joined the 76ers in 2013 to lead the new Business Development department where she played a crucial role in securing some of the largest partnerships in franchise history.
Prior to the Philadelphia 76ers, O’Reilly served as the Director of Partnership Marketing for Insignia Sports & Entertainment. She served as National Program Director for IMG College in New York City, where she oversaw the sales development team responsible for creating national programs and media plans for corporate partnerships across 70 plus Division I University Athletic Departments, Conferences and related properties. She previously held positions with the NBA’s renowned Team Marketing & Business Operations group and at Madison Square Garden.
O’Reilly, a Lower Merion native and Shipley School alumni, received a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan and currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Edward.