Welcome to the latest episode of Fundamentals with Ian Thomas, a Front Office Sports interview show featuring leading operators and voices of the sports industry.
Today’s guest is Sean Gleason, who has served as CEO and Commissioner of Professional Bull Riders (PBR) since 2015. One of America’s fastest-growing sports properties, PBR now competes in five countries and is seen in 130 territories around the world through global television distribution.
—More about Sean Gleason…
Sean Gleason is Commissioner of Professional Bull Riders (PBR), one of America’s fastest-growing sports properties. PBR now competes in five countries and is seen in 130 territories around the world through global television distribution. PBR has 82.5 million fans in the U.S., according to ESPN Sports Poll, and its broadcasts on CBS Sports average more than 1 million U.S. viewers.
Gleason was named PBR’s CEO in 2015 – the year the organization was acquired by global sports and entertainment leader, Endeavor. Before assuming the CEO post, Gleason spent 15 years as a senior executive overseeing nearly every aspect of the sport, including corporate and event marketing, sponsorship sales, fan relations, licensing, and digital media.
Gleason has developed and championed innovative programs to grow the sport and push America’s original extreme sport into the mainstream. These include: launching RidePass, PBR’s 24/7 western sports digital network; Be Cowboy, a national ad campaign celebrating the inner cowboy in everyone; creating the PBR Global Cup, the PBR Majors, and unique event formats such as Last Cowboy Standing; increasing competitor prize money; and partnering with the city of Las Vegas to move the PBR World Finals to T-Mobile Arena.
With the rest of the sports world on pause during the Coronavirus pandemic, Gleason led a team that created a comprehensive return-to-competition plan that is serving as a blueprint for other sports attempting to safely resume action in closed, for-TV events.
Prior to joining PBR in 2001, Gleason oversaw the marketing and business development for all sports projects at Sierra Sports, including the best-selling NASCAR Racing, Trophy Bass and NFL Football Pro titles. He served as executive or supervising producer of six Grammy-nominated video and record projects and six multi-platinum video projects while with Miramar Productions, Inc. Gleason is a graduate of Western Washington University.