Warner Bros. Discovery Taps Luis Silberwasser as Chairman/CEO of Sports Division
Turner Sports President Lenny Daniels, RSN President Patrick Crumb will report to Silberwasser, who will oversee the global sports strategy
One of the largest portfolio of live-sports rights has a new chief, as Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has named former TelevisaUnivision and Discovery Communications exec Luis Silberwasser as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports. In this new role, Silberwasser will lead the company’s domestic sports portfolio and oversee a unified, global sports strategy. He will report to WBD CEO David Zaslav, while Turner Sports President Lenny Daniels and President of Regional Sports Networks Patrick Crumb will report to Silberwasser. Andrew Georgiou, President & Managing Director, WBD Sports Europe, will continue to report to Gerhard Zeiler, President, International.
Silberwasser most recently served as President of TelevisaUnivision, U.S. Networks Group, where he led the growth of its broadcast and cable networks as well as the entertainment, news, and sports content and programming strategies. Earlier, Silberwasser spent 16 years at Discovery Communications, Inc., where he held several positions of increasing leadership responsibility, most recently as Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer at Discovery Networks International. In that role, Silberwasser was instrumental in building the company’s international business and its early focus on live content, including sports.
“I have known Luis for many years and have tremendous respect for how hard he works, how collaborative he approaches the job, and his ability to build very successful global businesses and brands,” says Zaslav. “I am thrilled to be working with him again, and believe Luis’ strong international business relationships, leadership track record and passion for delivering the best content and consumer experience make him the ideal leader to oversee the continued growth and expansion of our world-class sports business.”
With Discovery’s recent acquisition of WarnerMedia, the newly formed entity is expected to be larger force in the battle for U.S. sports rights. Discovery’s Eurosport already holds a significant slate of European rights, including Olympics rights in 54 countries. Discovery is also in talk to combine Eurosport’s U.K. business with BT Sport. With strong assets on both sides of the pond, WBD is expected to chase many upcoming rights packages using it global distribution capabilities. Silberwasser first big task will be re-upping NBA Turner Sports’ NBA right deal. The NBA’s current deals with Turner and Disney will end after the 2024-2025 season and early negotiations are expected to begin soon with the NBA likely looking for a significant hike in the value of its next round of deals.
“I am delighted to join Warner Bros. Discovery during an exciting and innovative time especially for its newly integrated global sports business and the great team at the company which boasts some of the most compelling on air talent, world class production values and the broadest media rights in the world,” says Silberwasser.” I truly feel like I am returning home under David’s dynamic and forward-thinking leadership and look forward to working with the global sports organization, our sports rights partners and the entire WBD company to deliver the most compelling and exciting sports programming to our fans and audiences worldwide.”
Through Turner Sports, Eurosport Networks and its BT Sports joint venture, Warner Bros. Discovery has a large portfolio of media rights, sports networks and sports-focused streaming platforms. In the U.S, the Company has long-term broadcast rights to the National Basketball League, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League and NCAA Basketball. In Europe, the Company has rights to the Olympics, PGA Tour, ATP World Tour, as well as cycling, tennis and soccer matches. In Latin American countries, sports rights include UEFA and several local soccer leagues. The Company’s four sports streaming services include Eurosport Player that offers localized sports to customers in 52 European markets.
“We thank Luis for his leadership in the expansion of Univision Network’s audience lead, across the company’s portfolio of national broadcast and cable television networks,” TelevisaUnivision CEO Wade Davis says of Silberwasser’s departure. “I want to personally wish him good luck in his new endeavors.”
Silberwasser received his MBA from Harvard Business School and holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech. He has been named to Cablefax’s Most Influential Minority List and Cablefax’s 100 list.