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Neal H. PilsonPresidentCompany:Pilson Communications, Inc.
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Neal H. Pilson, a senior industry executive and former president of CBS Sports, formed his own sports television consulting company, Pilson Communications, Inc., on June 1, 1995. Now located in Lenox, MA, PCI is active in all areas of sports television, media and marketing, and provides representation, negotiation and consulting services for U.S. and international companies and organizations.
In March, 2010, at the World Congress of Sports in Los Angeles, Sports Business Journal honored Pilson and five other long-time industry leaders as Sports Champions for their distinguished success in shaping the business of sports. Pilson was also included among the top 20 most influential media executives by the Journal and was the only independent consultant on the list. During his 40 years in television and sports (while at CBS and as an independent consultant), Pilson has negotiated over $15 Billion in rights agreements.
He is also a member of the faculty at Columbia University’s Graduate Program in Sports Management and is now in his third year teaching the course on Leadership.
In recent years, PCI has provided services for numerous clients including the National Football League (Pilson served as the NFL’s expert witness in litigation commenced by the Players’ Association on the issue of work stoppage payments from the league’s television carriers), Churchill Downs Incorporated (Pilson advised on the re-negotiation of CDI’s television rights agreement with NBC Sports for the Kentucky Derby and continues as consultant to CDI), the Arena Football League (Pilson recently negotiated a multi-year broadcast agreement in behalf of the League with The NFL Network), NASCAR (Pilson worked with NASCAR negotiating its historic $2.4 B network television agreements with Fox, NBC and Turner and also consulted on the recent $4.5 B extension and renegotiation of those agreements with Fox, Turner, ESPN and ABC), the International Olympic Committee (Pilson was the IOC Consultant in connection with the license to NBC of U.S. television rights to the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games for $2 B), International Association of Athletics Federations (Pilson provided consulting and negotiating services for the license of USA broadcast rights to the 2005, 2007 and 2009 World Track and Field Championships to NBC and Versus), Rose Bowl Management Committee (Pilson consulted on the negotiation of the Rose Bowl’s eight year, $300 M television agreement with ABC Sports and now serves as the television advisor to the Committee), World Series of Poker (Pilson consulted for Harrah’s on the negotiation of its initial long term program agreement with ESPN).
Also, route2digital (Pilson serves as a Senior Advisor to this hybrid investment/operating firm), When We Were Young Productions (Pilson has assisted in the licensing of State High School Championships for national and regional telecasts), Major League Gaming (Pilson negotiated their program license agreement with USA Network in 2007 and serves on the MLG Advisory Board), Demand Sport Limited, based in Melbourne, Australia, which is in discussions to license its sports-based technology to the US and Royal Australian military, and PlayItOver, which offers unique technology that provides digital content management and real time sports video highlights to mobile phone customers.
Also, PCI and L.E.K. Consulting, Inc., the worldwide consulting firm based in Los Angeles, have a working relationship to pursue sports-related projects that will maximize the assets and resources of both companies. Pilson also works with the Coleman Research Group.
Clients who have engaged PCI for consulting work since the company was launched include the NCAA, Major League Baseball, Collegiate Images, Official Sports Reports, LiveTV, iHigh.com, Inc., US Bowling Congress, AltaView, RallyPoint, NeuLion, Sorpresa, Teletrax, Wasserman Media Group, College Sports TV, UBS Bank, FIBA, The University of Michigan, EchoStar, Thoroughbred Championship Tour, the WTA, RazorGator, Action Sports Media, Scarborough Sports Marketing, WUSA, Family Circle Cup Tennis, Blue Gray All-Star College Football game, Virtual Spectator, The Bonham Group, the LPGA, Daytona International Speedway, the WNBPA, Vans Triple Crown Series, The University of Notre Dame, Eyetide Media, Celebrity Players Tour, Convizion Inc., Interactive Sports Signals, BeHere.com, Winstar New Media, Dentsu USA, Airia Inc., Penske Motorsports, World Team Tennis, StadiaNet Sports, Pac-10 Conference, YankeeNets LLC, Minnesota Timberwolves, iBEAM Broadcasting, Primestar, Classic Sports Network, ISL United States, Scidel Technologies, National Office of the March of Dimes, Petersen Publishing, Long Beach Grand Prix Association, Big 10 Conference, Core Digital Technologies, SWTV and others.
“Since I first joined CBS in 1976, sports on television has undergone a remarkable transformation,” Pilson said. "Where all roads once led to the three broadcast networks, now you need a map and often a guide to know where to go and how to get there. Pilson Communications, Inc. provides that service for its clients."
A frequent speaker, panelist and moderator at sports conferences, Pilson recently spoke at the Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, addressed the Knight Commission on College Athletics in Miami on the subject of television and college sports and was the keynote speaker at the 2010 Sports Video Group conference in New York. He was a member of a Digital Media Panel at the Wharton School and led the Paley Center Dialogue on Sports and the Media. He also addressed the NACDA Conference in New Orleans, the Conference of US Sports Commissions in Jacksonville, the Annual Meeting of the Division 1A Athletic Directors in Dallas, the Blue-Gray Association in Montgomery, numerous Street & Smith Media conferences in New York, the SG Cowen Investors Meetings in Florida, the NACMA Convention in Dallas, the Sky Forum in New York, numerous Sports Summits in New York, Atlanta and Rome, the GAISF Congress in Seoul, Sports Marketing Seminars at the University of Oregon and at the University of Kentucky, the NBA Players Association in Nassau, the Sportel meeting in Monte Carlo, the Institute of International Sport at the University of Rhode Island, various Paul Kagan Seminars, the Institute for Sports Advancement, the IEG conference in Chicago, the World Congress of Sports, the New York Law Journal Sports Seminar, the Josephthal Motor Sports Conference, the Strategic Research Institute and the International Motorsports Marketing Summit in Las Vegas. Pilson is also a Sports Power 100 selection panelist for Business Week magazine.
Pilson has also lectured at his alma mater Hamilton College, Yale Law School, The Wharton School, Stern School of Business at New York University, Washington University in St. Louis, at Fordham’s Graduate School of Sports Marketing, at a Columbia University MBA conference, the DeVos Sports Management Program at the University of Central Florida, Seton Hall University, Phillips Exeter Academy and other institutions including the Chappaqua school system. He is a frequent on-air contributor and is often interviewed by the broadcast networks, sports radio stations, ESPN, CNN, Fox Business, PBS, Bloomberg News and CNBC, and quoted in The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Sports Illustrated, Sports Business Journal and other newspapers and publications. He has also been retained as an expert witness in numerous industry cases.
In two terms as President of CBS Sports (November 1981 - September 1983 and December 1986 - March 1994), Pilson was responsible for negotiating broadcast agreements for all of CBS's major sports franchises including the NFL, the NCAA Basketball Tournament, The Masters, PGA Golf, the U.S. Open Tennis, college football and basketball and he handled the acquisition of domestic television rights to the 1992, 1994 and 1998 Olympic Winter Games. During his tenure, CBS won major Emmy Awards for coverage of the Final Four, NFL Football, Major League Baseball, the Daytona 500 and other events, as well as a George Foster Peabody Award for The Masters. In December 1994, the International Olympic Committee awarded Pilson the Olympic Order, the highest honor given by that organization.
Previously, he was Executive Vice President, CBS/Broadcast Group from September 1983-December 1986. Reporting to him during that period were the Radio and Television Stations, Sports and Operations Divisions. Representing CBS, Pilson also sat on the Board of Cablevision’s Rainbow Programming unit from 1986 to 1989. Pilson first joined CBS Sports as Director, Business Affairs in July, 1976. Before joining CBS, Pilson was in private law practice in New York and served as an executive at Metromedia, Inc. and the William Morris Agency, Inc.
Pilson received an A.B. in history from Hamilton College in 1960, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and played varsity basketball, and an LL.B. from Yale Law School in 1963. He is the former Chairman and President of the Executive Committee of the Yale Law School Association and was a Board member of the USA Hockey Foundation and the Greater New York Chapter of the March of Dimes. In May 1991, he received the March of Dimes Sports Luncheon Founder’s Award and continues to serve on the Executive Committee for the Luncheon. He is a former Ardsley (N.Y.) Village Trustee and remains active with the USA Deaf Hockey Program based in Chicago.
Pilson and his wife Frieda live in Berkshire County, MA. They have three grown children and six grandchildren. Mrs. Pilson is past president of the Board of Trustees of the Katonah Museum of Art.