Time Warner Cable Sports has made two key executive hires.
TWC Sports has hired regional sports network veteran Mark Shuken to oversee day-to-day operations of its regional sports network, while tapping Comcast distribution executive Dan Finnerty to head up its affiliate team. Both will report to David Rone, who in May was named president of TWC Sports.
As expected,Shuken, who was serving as president and CEO of DirecTV Sports Networks, where he was responsible for the company's trio of RSNs under the Root Sports banner, will be responsible for day-to-day management, programming, production, marketing and all business operations of Time Warner Cable's RSNs. Those include its two upcoming services centering on the Los Angeles Lakers -- one in English, the other in Spanish -- that are slated to tip off before the start of the 2012-13 NBA season.
Previously, Shuken served as president and CEO of Liberty Sports Group, where he created and led a standalone division of regional sports networks. Before that, he was the senior vice president and general manager for Fox Sports Net Northwest, which, at that time, was the nation's most highly rated regional sports network. He has a quarter-century's worth of experience in sports programming.
"Mark has successfully led regional sports operations at both DirecTV and Fox, and is the ideal selection to lead our regional sports initiatives. He has extensive experience in launching and running regional sports networks," said Rone in a statement. "Mark also has deep-rooted relationships and is widely recognized as a leader across the cable and sports industries. We're thrilled to have someone of his caliber joining our team."
For his part, Finnerty as senior vice president will direct business development for TWC Sports and lead the affiliate sales and affiliate marketing efforts for its regional networks, including the high-definition services in Los Angeles that will be available to all satellite, cable and telco distributors in the Lakers' territory, comprising all of southern California, Nevada and Hawaii.
Before making the move, Finnerty, who will be based in LA, was executive vice president, network distribution and development for Comcast Networks, where he co-managed a cross-functional team of more than 50 professionals responsible for distribution/affiliate sales and business development for all Comcast owned or managed networks, including their regional sports networks. During his six years at Comcast, he was also instrumental in securing critical distribution for a number of start-up networks. Prior to joining the nation's largest MSO, Dan held senior sales roles with start-up HorseRacing TV and digital media company Organic Inc.
"Dan is well known and highly respected in our industry," Rone noted. "He's an innovative thinker, which will be critical to building the TWC Sports brand among consumers. He also has years of experience as a leader in securing broad distribution for regional sports networks and a true passion for sports. Through his strong relationships, he'll be a key asset in growing our business. We're very excited to have him on board."