NESN’s Sean McGrail Honored as Cable TV Pioneer at Cable TV Pioneers Banquet

NESN President and CEO Sean McGrail was honored as a Cable TV Pioneer at the 51st Annual Cable TV Pioneers Banquet held at the Brown Palace in Denver, CO. McGrail was one of twenty Cable TV Pioneers inducted at the event, which honored long-serving accomplished executives and entrepreneurs in the cable industry.

Sean McGrail

“Sean is a truly outstanding cable executive and under his leadership NESN has consistently been the Nation’s pre-eminent RSN,” says Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. “Even in this new era of multichannel television marked by a significant degree of change, Sean keeps NESN steady to its mission—delivering viewers the best local coverage of their Boston sports teams—but now by finding new and innovative ways to do so for all devices, platforms and technologies—so as to ensure NESN’s continued connection with its audience and leadership position among RSNs.”

“No one has been more instrumental in the growth and overall success of NESN than Sean,” says Boston Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs. “During his tenure, the network has developed into one of the most popular media services in all of New England. His knowledge, vision, and commitment to the industry as a whole is remarkable. I am very happy for Sean and can’t think of anyone more deserving of such an honor.”

“I’m extremely grateful that my peers have nominated me for this accolade,” says McGrail. “Being mentioned alongside some of the most respected people in the industry is a great honor and something I certainly never expected.”

McGrail has served as President and CEO of NESN since 2000. Under his leadership, NESN has been transformed into one of the most popular media properties in New England, growing from a premium service with 400,000 subscribers to a standard service with over 4 million homes.

The network is also distributed outside New England as NESN National to approximately 5 million homes throughout the country. NESN also boasts a digital group that oversees, the 12th most visited sports website in the country according to ComScore. In 2017, NESN launched in-market streaming at or on the NESNgo app.

The Worcester, MA, native joined NESN’s affiliate marketing department in 1985 and helped the then fledgling network get off the ground. Now NESN’s Red Sox and Bruins coverage consistently garners higher average prime-time ratings than any Boston area broadcast network and consistently ranks among the most watched and highest rated RSN’s in the country. Forbes Magazine has ranked NESN as one of the top ten Most Valuable Sport Business Brands in the World for four consecutive years.

McGrail engineered NESN’s 2006 relocation from Fenway Park to the NESN Television Center in Watertown, Mass. It’s considered one of the leading RSN facilities in the country. The move also made NESN the first RSN in the country to originate every game and studio show in high definition. NESN recently updated its studios to become the first RSN to bring automation into its studio productions.  The network is also the only RSN to offer split regional feeds for advertisers who seek enhanced targeting of their message.

McGrail championed NESN Connects, the network’s social responsibility program, which provides three paid days off for all employees to volunteer at company-sponsored events. In addition to his work at NESN, McGrail also serves on the Boards of the Red Sox Foundation and the Bruins Foundation, as well as Roush Fenway Racing, one of the largest teams in NASCAR.

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