BACKGROUND: Having helped found NeuLion in 2004, Chris Wagner has been a technology industry leader for more than 20 years and at the forefront of over-the-top video streaming for over than a decade. Brands NeuLion has worked with in the streaming arena include the NFL, the NBA, Univision, National Geographic and UFC. Before NeuLion, he worked at private equity firms including Metion and MetaMatrix, and before that, from 1984 to 2000, worked for Computer Associates International (now CA Technologies).
2017 HIGHLIGHTS: Wagner has played a key role in NeuLion’s global expansion: In the last year and a half, NeuLion has opened a new European headquarters in London that houses more than 100 employees and established a presence in both Singapore and Dubai. He recently attended SPORTTELAsia, a conference in Singapore. “I would say ‘17 was a big growth year for us with international opportunities,” Wagner says. “This direct-to-consumer OTT phenomenon is not just here in the U.S., it’s all over the world.” NeuLion wins in 2017 include doing 70-plus English Football League soccer games, he says, and pay-per-view boxing in the U.K. and Ireland for Sky Sports.
WHAT’S AHEAD: A live video-streaming pioneer, NeuLion delivered some 63,000 live events in 2017. It was an early entrant into streamed sports, dating back to 2006 with content related to the New York Islanders hockey team, which led to being the first OTT provider for the NHL’s“Game Center Live. NeuLion lost the NHL business in 2016 to BAMTech, but was picked by Spanish-language content giant Univision as the platform for the Univision NOW OTT service. “For us, this year and next is about expanding internationally and expanding into other content categories, other than just sports,” Wagner says. “News and entertainment is becoming a big focus.”