How Comcast-Spectacor Redefined Sports and Entertainment

Comcast-Spectacor has built an impressive, synergistic organization that leverages the power of all of its core businesses — owning and operating sports franchises, managing public assembly venues, selling tickets, providing food and beverage services, and programming sports television networks. It’s all based on a blueprint for success created by Ed Snider, Comcast-Spectacor Chairman. (Photo: AP Images)

It Began With a Hockey Team. And It’s Still Going Strong.

Comcast-Spectacor began in 1967 when Snider created the Philadelphia Flyers, a National Hockey League expansion franchise. Five years later, Snider took control of the Spectrum, the facility where the team played. The facility was experiencing financial difficulty, and its ownership had sought protection in bankruptcy court. Snider formulated a plan whereby he purchased the facility and paid the creditors 100 percent of their claims.

Snider quickly established the Spectrum as "America’s Showplace," home to more sporting events, concerts, family shows and other attractions than almost any other arena in the country. In 1974, the Flyers made history by becoming the first NHL expansion team to capture the Stanley Cup. In 1975, the Flyers again won the coveted trophy.

The success of the Spectrum caught the attention of venue owners around the country. In 1980, Snider created Spectacor Management Incorporated to provide those owners with the same level of management expertise that transformed and rejuvenated the Spectrum. In 1988, he joined his company with the ownership of the Hyatt Corporation to create Spectacor Management Group (SMG). ARAMARK Corporation joined the ownership group in 1991. Snider sold his interest in SMG to his partners in 1997 and exited the public facility management business until the formation of Global Spectrum in 2000.

Comcast-Spectacor Redefines the Sports and Entertainment Industry

In 1996, Snider joined forces with cable powerhouse Comcast Corporation to create Comcast-Spectacor. The partnership initially included the Flyers, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, the Spectrum and the state-of-the-art Wells Fargo Center. In addition, Snider, Comcast and the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball created a new 24-hour regional sports network, Comcast SportsNet.

In early 2000, Comcast-Spectacor again entered the public assembly management field when it joined with Globe Facility Services, a Florida-based firm created and headed by Michel Sauers, a former executive with SMG and a former employee of Snider’s at the Spectrum. The venture, named Global Spectrum, has grown explosively since its inception, increasing contracts by nearly 500 percent.

Comcast-Spectacor also joined with Leisure & Recreation Consultants, Inc., a company formed by Ken Young, a 25-year veteran of the concession industry, to form Ovations Food Services, L.P. Ovations is a rapidly growing provider of food and beverage services to a variety of public assembly facilities and casinos throughout the world.

In November 2004, Comcast-Spectacor made an equity investment in Paciolan, an automated ticketing company, and acquired the right to utilize its technology platform. Comcast-Spectacor acquired 100 percent of Paciolan in January of 2010 from Live Nation. In 2011, Comcast-Spectacor sold the Sixers to a group headed by Josh Harris and David Blitzer.

Unprecedented Success

Comcast-Spectacor creates exciting new business opportunities through its unique ability to integrate the resources of its various entities. In the future, look for Comcast-Spectacor companies to continue to define "best practices" in the sports and entertainment field as they continue to follow their blueprint for success and maintain Comcast-Spectacor’s position as an industry leader.