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Volume 22 No. 19
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Forty Under 40: Will McIntosh

Photo: golf channel

Will McIntosh was 29 years old when he sold WorldGolf.com to Golf Channel. The company, which operated golf and travel websites, became the linchpin for the network’s successful GolfNow business.

Executive Vice President, Business and Strategy, Comcast/NBCUniversal; NBC Sports Group; Golf Channel

Age: 39

Born: Columbus, Ga.

Education: Winthrop University, B.S. (magna cum laude), business administration

Family: Wife, Hollis; children, Grace (11), Emery (9) and Hoyt (8)

What gets you fired up? Opportunities to create new partnerships, build new businesses, learn something new.

You wish you knew 10 years ago: How to better identify, hire and retain talented people; no one right way to build or scale a business.

Profession you’d most like to attempt: Something in the online video game or movie business — two passion points for me.

Guilty pleasure: Espresso and sugar-free Red Bull.

Something your friends would consider “so you”: Early adoption of new technology and major supporter of the Irish goodbye/ghosting at social events.

Cause supported: First Tee, currently serve on the board of directors for the Central Florida Chapter.

Person in the industry you’d most like to meet: Dabo Swinney.

Typically when entrepreneurs sell to a corporate entity, they stay for a short while before leaving. McIntosh, though, figured out how to thrive and has been a high flier with Golf Channel for the past decade.

He became the youngest executive vice president in network history in 2017 and now runs strategy for Golf Channel’s non-television businesses. He has managed 15 mergers and acquisitions and overseen the network’s digital expansion internationally, including as the lead negotiator for the rights to the over-the-top service PGA Tour Live for NBC Gold. 

He’s at the table with NBC’s top executives, including Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal broadcast, cable, sports and news, and Golf Channel President Mike McCarley.

“I remember vividly during spring break, my wife and I are going with our family down to South Florida and I’m on a conference call for an hour with Mark Lazarus and Bob Eatroff [Comcast executive vice president of global corporate development and strategy], and I was sent to convince Bob why we think this acquisition makes sense,” McIntosh said. “There were times along the way that we were debating heavily what company we should acquire, and then ultimately … we decided on that which is now SportsEngine.”

In some respects, McIntosh was fated to become an important part of the sports community, especially since he was named after his maternal grandfather, the Hall of Fame knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm. “There’s a YouTube video out there with a little blond-headed boy out in the audience when my grandfather is giving his Hall of Fame acceptance speech that happens to be me.”