Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network CEO Tracy Dolgin is stepping down as CEO of the network to become its non-executive chairman, a voluntary move that caps a decades-long career in the sports business with YES, Fox and HBO. Dolgin will effectively take his new role tomorrow (June 2), but he said the transition will be gradual.
“This is not goodbye,” Dolgin said, adding that he will continue to provide the continuity, advice and stewardship for YES as needed.
The move comes at a time when many long-serving Fox executives sought and accepted a buyout package offered to employees in the film and TV businesses units with 15 years or more of service. YES, Fox and Dolgin declined comment on whether or not Dolgin opted for a buyout.
Dolgin joined YES in 2004 from investment bank Houlihan Lokey & Zukin, but had spent several years as president of Fox Sports Network and chief operating officer of Fox Liberty Cable, then parent of Fox Sports, FX and other cable channels. He also served stints as executive vice president of marketing for Fox Broadcasting and senior vice president of Home Box Office’s HBO Video.
Early on Dolgin was in the front seat for YES oversaw Fox’s growing interest in the regional sports network. But about three years ago, Fox purchased effective control of the network and took over many functions that had previously been handled by executives at the network.
“When you are a CEO you run the entire business by yourself, not part of a larger, great, organizational platform,” Dolgin said. “At the point we started transitioning to the Fox platform, as that happened my job started to change from being a CEO to being a corporate executive, which is what I was in my previous life. That process has worked very well.”
Dolgin said he convinced Fox and the Yankees to allow him to transition once again into a broader organizational role. “To be able to focus on those and less on signing bills, that’s my goal and I think that’s why Fox and the Yankees were excited for me to be able to do that and remain with the company,” he said.
Dolgin said as non-executive chairman, he will be able to focus on big picture items – like OTT, global and strategic issues – rather than the day-to-day operations of the business. And it also allows him to pursue other opportunities as they present themselves.
Fox Sports generally runs its regional sports networks with a senior vice president who's also general manager at the helm. Fox Sports regional sports networks president Jeff Krolik said YES’s ultimate structure hasn’t been worked out yet. “In our world, we don’t have a job ‘CEO of a regional sports network,’ ” Krolik said. “How we’re going to organize YES is still under consideration.”
Krolik, a friend of Dolgin's who's known him for more than 20 years, said he was excited that his new role allows the company to continue to draw on Dolgin's expertise.
“Tracy is just a terrific resource,” Krolik said. “He’s built a great business at YES; it’s the preeminent regional sports network in the country. I am happy we will continue to have his service.”
Dolgin’s transition also comes as YES is embroiled in a carriage stand-off with Comcast in the New York area. Comcast dropped YES in November for what it called exorbitant rate increases, which YES disputed. The blackout has affected about 900,000 Comcast homes in parts of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania and Comcast has said it hopes to resolve the impasse but could live without the channel.
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