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SBJ/March 21-27, 2011/Forty Under 40
Forty Under 40
Published March 21, 2011, Page 48A
Comcast had been building up its local sites by adding top-flight journalists in its markets. So it raised some eyebrows when it decided to partner with a group that operates a network of more than 240 locally oriented blogs as a way to expand its own digital assets.
Eric Grilly was behind that decision. He helped work the due diligence that saw Comcast’s venture capital arm, Comcast Interactive Capital, lead a $7.95 million Series B investment round for SB Nation.
Tasked with running the digital business for Comcast’s group of regional sports networks, Grilly saw cooperation where many others may have seen competition.
For some, like SB Nation’s chairman and CEO, Jim Bankoff, Grilly’s ability to keep an open mind during negotiations sets him apart from many other young executives.
“Too often in business, you find young executives that view partnerships as zero sum,” Bankoff said. “Eric has the unique ability and maturity to put himself in the shoes of the party he is negotiating with to find solutions that build their business as well as his.”
For Grilly, the end goal is always about trying to increase the digital presence of the Comcast SportsNet RSNs. Under Grilly’s direction, CSN was the first RSN group to stream live NBA games locally, with two tests in Philadelphia and Chicago.
He also was behind a partnership with Sporting News that launched in Philadelphia last year. “We have plans to deploy it in other markets later this year,” Grilly said.
“Eric is one of the few young executives who has learned to act entrepreneurially in a large company environment,” Bankoff said. “He knows as well as anyone that sports are local.”
Titles: Executive vice president and chief digital officer
company: Comcast Sports Group, a division of NBC Sports
Education: Economics, University of California, Davis
Family: Off to a good start … She said “Yes”!
Career: Fourteen years starting and running the digital operations for local media companies
Last vacation: Caribbean island experience
What's on your iPod: 22,000 songs and growing. I love all types of music: Buena Vista Social Club, Flo Rida, Jimmy Smith, Thievery Corporation, The Rolling Stones.
||Guilty pleasure: Skipping a day at the gym substituted by a pizza with something from the cellar: Karl Lawrence, PlumpJack or a Turley
Best stress release: Dinner out with family and/or friends
Pet peeve: Inconsideration for others
Greatest achievement: Finding love
Greatest disappointment: Any dinner I try to make
Fantasy job: Winemaker
Business advice: Know your business from your customer’s perspective. Walk in their shoes and make sure that the experience exceeds their expectations.