George McNeilly

Windermere, Florida

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About Me

Experienced and resourceful multi-dimensional executive with an extensive background in corporate and consumer communications, multi-media, sports and entertainment business leadership roles. Strategic thinker and communicator who has added significant value through a series of increasingly more complex leadership roles in the sports and entertainment space. Known for being lean budget minded, nimble, candid, optimistic and immensely creative. Proven track record of successfully leading process and change within large organizations with multiple business lines. Thrives in challenging, fast-paced environments requiring timely consideration, prioritization, decision and action. A true relationship builder and business partner with superb presentation and negotiation skills. Characterized as a courageous leader, and known throughout the ESPN organization for success in:
Budget management
Creating synergistic relationships
Digital media services
Fostering teamwork
Growing niche’ and major properties
Generating advertising value with earned media
Issue management
Marketing and Promotions
Publications production
Staging VIP events/tournaments
Sponsor, athlete and media relations
McNeilly Communications, Inc 2011-Present
Founding Partner
While actively searching for my next senior leadership role, I established a firm to accommodate colleagues and friends who asked me to help grow their businesses in the following areas:
* Partnership and Sponsor Alliance Development * Social and Traditional Media Optimization * Media Training and Development * Strategic Communication and Issue Management * Media Relations and Event Logistics
I am consulting the Central Florida Sports Commission and Bass Pro Shops, Orlando in the areas of Partnership and Alliance Development while supporting media optimization for the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. This all comes on the heels of ESPN closing our Orlando offices late last year, and my family’s desire to remain in Central Florida rather than relocating to Bristol, Connecticut.
ESPN, Inc. Lake Buena Vista, FL 2001 to 2010
Senior Director – Corporate and Consumer Communications (2005 to 2010)
Executive leadership position with responsibility for overall administration, strategic development, creative ideation, tactical operations and financial management of communications and public relations campaigns designed to raise awareness, generate buzz and increase consumer use of our multi-media platforms and related products devoted to motor sports. Member of a core team created to optimize synergistic relationships with sales, affiliate and consumer marketing, programming, production and forecasting to ensure exceptional performance and collaboration in managing league relationships with NASCAR, IndyCar, NHRA Drag Racing and the motor sports industry.
• Lead a company-wide effort that won top honors in 2009 and 2010 from CableFAX: The Magazine: recognized as cable TV’s best in marketing and communications, Campaign of the Year, Best In-House Campaign, and a third consecutive Magellan Award from the League of Communications Professionals for Motor Sports on ESPN.
• Other recent top industry honors include the APEX Grand Award for Communications Excellence and a Gold Medal from the Mercury Awards for ESPN’s Return to NASCAR after a six year hiatus.
• In 2009, responsibilities were expanded to include daytime SportsCenter featuring Hannah Storm and ABC’s coverage of the NBA Finals.
• Partnered with other ESPN and Harrah’s executives to reverse downward trend and declining interest in the World Series of Poker. Built consensus with key influencers in the media who had previously reported that sport had peaked. Ratings, sponsorship and participation in both 2008 and 2009 increased significantly from 2007.
• Led a team in 2006 and 2007 that generated more than $30 million dollars each year in advertising equivalent in daily newspapers and online for the BASS/ESPN Outdoors brands.
1911 Pamlynne Place Windermere, FL 34786 407.791.6851
Director – ESPN Consumer Communications – Montgomery, AL (2001-2005)
Responsibilities with BASS were expanded to include oversight of ESPN Outdoors.
• Justified to senior executive leadership team, won approval and launched media web site resulting in a dramatic increase in resources available to internal and external stakeholders, and helping our team generate an abundance of weekly media placements for the niche properties.
• Served on a core leadership team consisting of programming, production, sales and marketing to leverage ESPN and TWDC to create and grow opportunities for the newly acquired business.
• Worked directly with NBC Nightly News, ABC’s World News Tonight, CNN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and hundreds of other non-proprietary media, and with sports celebrities including Deion Sanders, Wade Boggs, Greg Biffle and Lee Corso on a variety of special events and projects to help propel professional bass fishing into the mainstream.
• Worked closely with sponsors including Chevrolet, Ranger Boats, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, and CITGO Petroleum to drive significant value to their investments in ESPN Outdoors, the Bassmaster events and associated multi-platform coverage.
BASS, Inc. 1999-2001
Director, Communications and Broadcast Development – Montgomery, AL
Hired by then-owners of the world’s largest fishing organization 18 months prior to its acquisition by ESPN, Inc.
• Reversed declining state of media relations/placements through content creation, proactive pitching and more open and strategic interaction with athletes, TV talent and management.
• Assembled and led a team that transformed a fledgling public relations effort into a full-service Communications unit that was retained, grown and poised to contribute to new parent company’s success in the Outdoors genre and beyond.
• Drove critical Internet and technology projects to enhance communications with 600,000 member organization and produced first full color media guide in the 30 year history of the sport.
Broadcast Services International 1989-1999
Vice President, Business Development – Arlington, VA
Responsible for generating new business, and providing exceptional service to existing accounts. Project management of
media tours, news/feature packaging and distribution for professional golf tournament sponsors including BellSouth,
Chick-fil-A, GTE, Motorola, Nationwide Insurance and Subaru.
CBS Cable’s Home Team Sports 1997–1999
TV Host/Producer – Bethesda, MD
Wrote, produced and hosted an award-winning weekly segment featuring one-on-one interviews with celebrities.
Westwood One Networks 1989-1999
Sportscaster/Producer – Arlington, VA
On-air talent and production logistics leader for NBC and eventually CBS Radio Network -- broadcasting from marquee
events including Summer and Winter Olympics, Super Bowls, World Series and the NCAA Final Four.
Masters Degree in Business Management, Troy University, 2005
Bachelor’s Degree in Radio-Television, University of Central Florida
1911 Pamlynne Place Windermere, FL 34786 407.791.6851
Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence, People Management and Leadership Excellence, The Disney Institute
Winner of numerous awards including a Gold Medal from the International Radio Festival of New York (Summer Olympics on NBC) and American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Best Daily Show (Radio and TV Categories). Member of news team that won the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association.
Earned individual honors for news and sports reporting from the Associated Press, National Motorsports Press Association, American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists (Sigma Delta Chi).
Also covered the launch of a space shuttle while a teenager, the grand openings of Disney’s Epcot, MGM (now Hollywood)
Studios and Wide World of Sports, and a Florida gubernatorial election.
• V Foundation for Cancer Research – committee member since 2004
• Southeastern Outdoor Press Association – elected president, 2005
• AAU Football – Central Florida Bobcats – Board of Directors. 2010 - present
• Assistant Coach, Youth League Basketball – 2008 – present
• Big Brothers, Big Sisters 2011-present

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