By Barry Janoff
November 30, 2015: John Collins, who spent 15 years as an executive for the NFL before joining the NHL in 2007, is returning to an NFL operation as CEO for On Location Experiences.
The hiring of Collins coincides with the firm's relaunching from NFL On Location. On Location Experiences said it would remain a "premium experiential hospitality business" owned by RedBird Capital Partners, Bruin Sports Capital and the NFL.
Among its other experiences and hospitality platforms, On Location Experiences is working with the NFL on Super Bowl 50 in Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 7, 2016; Super Bowl LI in Houston; and "marquee NFL events, including the 2016 NFL Draft and the International Series Games in London."
According to Collins, “I’ve always wanted to fulfill my passion for building a great global business from the ground up, and with On Location Experiences, I could not be more excited to work with Gerry (Cardinale, managing partner and founder for RedBird Capital Partners) and George (Pyne, founder and CEO for Bruin Sports Capital), who have an impressive track record of investing in and building tremendous companies at the intersection of sports and entertainment."
During his NFL tenure, Collins worked for NFL Films before being named the league's svp-marketing, programming and sales. He was then named president and CEO for the Cleveland Browns from 2004-06.
Collins was named COO for the NHL in 2008, a position he held until resigning last week.
During his NHL period, league-wide revenues grew from $2.2 billion to $4 billion. He led negotiations in the $2.2 billion media rights deal with NBC (2011), the $5.2 billion TV rights agreement in Canada with Rogers (2013) and a $1 billion digital media rights partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media signed earlier this year.
“I’ve always wanted to fulfill my passion for building a great global business from the ground up, and with On Location Experiences, I could not be more excited . . . "
Collins also was instrumental in launching the outdoor Winter Classic series, NHL Network and a significant redesign of NHL.com.
"John leaves a lasting mark," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement when Collins departed just before Thanksgiving Day. "His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our league. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors."
"What we are trying to create in our partnership with the NFL and its owners is a live event experiential platform that really does not exist today in either sports or entertainment," Cardinale said in a statement. "We have been looking for a fairly unique executive who has the experience and network as well as the commercial and entrepreneurial instincts to help us take this platform to a whole other level. John is that person."