By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – PBR CEO Sean Gleason will be a guest on Fundamentals with Ian Thomas, a Front Office Sports digital show featuring leading operators and voices of the sports industry, Monday at noon ET.
Gleason will discuss the PBR’s path back to competition the past few weeks at the Lazy E Arena following the organization’s 41-day hiatus because of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, and he will talk about what the future may hold for the PBR and the sports world in general.
Gleason led a team that created a comprehensive return-to-competition plan for the PBR that is an example for other sports attempting to safely resume action in closed, for-TV events.
The PBR followed a series of health protocols to hold two, closed-to-the-public Unleash The Beast bull riding events in the past three weeks in Guthrie, Oklahoma. The PBR will continue to buck bulls at the Lazy E Arena this coming Saturday and Sunday with the PBR Lucas Oil Invitational, presented by U.S. Border Patrol.
Championship Sunday will conclude on May 17 LIVE on CBS national television at 2 p.m. ET.
All competitors and crew will undergo medical screening in order to enter the Lazy E grounds. There will be a smaller production crew than normal, including the use of robotic cameras.
Judges and TV announcers are also relocated compared to a standard event, and the PBR has created functional groups of no larger than 10 people (averaging 6.5 people) to ensure limited interactions. The number of riders/stock contractors on the back of the bucking chutes will also significantly be reduced.
Social distancing guidelines and self-isolation policies are in place for travel and lodging, severely limiting any contact with anyone in the local Logan County or surrounding Oklahoma community. Everyone drove to the venue, avoiding air travel and public transportation, and are all staying in RVs on the grounds of Lazy E.
The 140 people on site signed a social responsibility pledge to abide by workflow, process, hygiene, sanitary and separation guidelines.
One of America’s fastest-growing sports properties, PBR sanctions events 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.
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.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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