America's Cup: 'The Doc' appointed as Commercial Commissioner

Harvey Schiller has been appointed as Commercial Commissioner for the 35th America's Cup
© ACEA /Gilles Martin-Raget
America’s Cup organizers have appointed Dr. Harvey Schiller as Commercial Commissioner for the 35th America’s Cup. The role of Commercial Commissioner is new to the America’s Cup.

Dr. Schiller will be responsible for supervising, managing and protecting the commercial interests of the America’s Cup. He will work closely with all of the competitors, the Regatta Director and the America’s Cup Event Authority.

'This is an exciting time to be involved in the America’s Cup,' Dr. Schiller said in the media release from ACEA.

'Following the thrilling event we saw last summer, when Oracle Team USA came from behind to win the Cup, interest in the event is as high as it’s ever been. Our job now is to translate those opportunities into growth of the event for the benefit of all participants. As such, I’m extremely gratified to see how the teams have started working together with such a high level of cooperation over the past few months.'

Schiller has had one of the most legendary careers in public service and sports business, having served as Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, the Executive Director of the US Olympic Committee and President of Turner Sports as well as Chairman and CEO of YankeeNets and President of the International Baseball Federation.

His personal accomplishments away from sport include a Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in the United States Air Force (where he retired as Brigadier General), and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Michigan. He also currently serves on the board of the World Baseball Classic and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dr. Schiller has also served on the America’s Cup Advisory Board since 2010.

Dr. Schiller starts the role with immediate effect. Items on the to-do list include finalizing the America’s Cup World Series schedule, format and venues, and securing international broadcast agreements.

Sail-World:The appointment of a Commercial Commissioner is a decision made by the America's Cup Events Authority after consultation with the Challenger of Record, who is now Luna Rossa. It is believed the other Challengers were also advised of Schiller's pending appointment.

Schiller has had a varied and colourful career, including flying combat missions in Vietnam, and having an involvement in World Championship Wrestling during his time as the first President of Sports at Turner TV, where he was known as 'The Doc'.

During that time he is reported as having suspended Eric Bischoff, then then-president of WCW. Schiller once appeared on the wrestling show WCW Monday Nitro when he suspended Bischoff from WCW in March 1997

Schiller was one of six selected by Sport Business Daily in its '2013 class of The Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business' series. A full backgrounder on Harvey Schiller can be read by clicking here