The XFL isn't just looking for top talent on the field. They are hoping they can find the best men and women for their internal work. Via a press release, the XFL announced that Fred Harner has been named the Senior Vice President of Content and Media.
One of Harner's key roles will be to lead the XFL's content strategy and all digital and social media initiatives for the league. He will also work closely with ESPN and FOX Sports, the XFL's broadcast partners, to help increase fan engagement. Harner has proven to be a resourceful member of the media world. Earning a B.S. in Journalism from the Univerity of Maine in 1993, Harner went on to get a Master's in Athletic Communication from Ohio University in 1995.
"Vince McMahon and I are delighted to have a recognized and seasoned media executive like Fred join the XFL and help us offer fans fresh and compelling football content," said XFL President and COO Jeffrey Pollack. "Fred's career has been marked by two decades of innovation and transformation, and he will help us connect with our fans through new points of access to the game they love."
Harner was the head of SNY's digital operation team prior to joining the XFL. From 2007-2019, Harner oversaw business development, sales, sponsorship, live streaming, social media, VOD and partner relations for the home of the New York Mets. As a growing brand, SNY has turned into a media powerhouse thanks to Harner, who has helped lead business initiatives with Facebook, Twitter, Google, NBCU Sports, MLB Advanced Media, Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report, among other entities. A multi-time N.Y. Sports Emmy and Telly Award winner, Harner has become a regular at speaking panels. He was selected to participate in Comcast/NBCU's INVEST leadership development program and has appeared as a guest at events such as the SXSW Technology Conference, BlogWorld and New Media Expo.
Harner has been around the sports world since his career began. He spent five years as a senior editor for ABC Sports Online and ESPN.com. During this time he enhanced the digital coverage for sporting events that included ABC Sports' Monday Night Football, Bowl Championship Series, Triple Crown and Indy 500. Among other skills, Harner helped innovate the YES Network, as he spent six years as the digital media director for the network before joining SNY.
"I'm so grateful to Vince McMahon and Jeffrey Pollack for this truly unique opportunity," Harner stated. "Launching and leading digital operations at YES and SNY was both challenging and exhilarating. I see many similarities with the new XFL, and look forward to reimagining the digital aspects of fan engagement as we drive to our February launch."
The relaunched XFL season is expected to start in February of 2020, just a few days after the Super Bowl.