John J. Filippelli, one of the most influential and most respected executives in all of sports television, is responsible for every aspect of the critically acclaimed on-air content for the YES Network, the pre-eminent regional sports network in the nation. He is the only person in sports broadcasting history known to have earned more than 100 national Emmy nominations, as well as more than 100 local Emmy nominations (YES actually has 571 Emmy nominations, along with 134 Emmy wins, under his watch), and is one of a select few producers who have held senior positions in the truck, as well as in management.
In August of 2020, Filippelli was voted into the Sports Video Group’s prestigious Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, which recognizes individuals for their lasting contributions to the sports broadcasting industry.
Filippelli’s mantra?: “The way we cover a game is almost as important as the game itself, because the imagery and commentary we provide become lasting memories for our viewers.”
Filippelli joined YES as its first employee in September 2001. His task: to build, from scratch, all on-air elements of a television network just five months before its March, 2002 launch.
From the start, Filippelli has had the network constantly at the forefront of sports production and technology: it was the first television network to produce 3D and interactive MLB telecasts, and was the first television network to display continuous on-screen pitch counts during baseball telecasts. YES was a leader when it came to HD, as well, having launched its standalone 24/7 HD channel in 2007.
The network was the first regional sports network (RSN) to produce and televise an MLB game outside of North America (Yankees vs. Devil Rays, March 2004 in Japan), and was the first RSN to simulcast a sports radio talk show (WFAN’s Mike and the Mad Dog, March 2002). YES has also produced several Brooklyn Nets games in London. Its “Super Slo Mo” and YES MO” cameras have set the standard for instant replays within sports telecasts, and its Yankees Extra Innings, launched in 2010, was the first interactive post-game show in which viewers help dictate the content and flow of the show. YES has been the most-watched RSN in the country 16 of the past 18 years.
Even before arriving at YES, Filippelli was held in high esteem by his peers, given his award-winning work while holding senior positions at NBC Sports, ABC Sports, Fox Sports, and The Baseball Network. He excelled at producing an incredibly diverse slate of the highest-profile events on domestic and global stages: Olympic Games, MLB World Series and All-Star Games, Super Bowls, Monday Night Football, the Indianapolis 500, Wimbledon, NHL, the PGA Tour, British Open golf, the BCS College Football Championship Series, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, and more.
Filippelli was a lead producer for numerous MLB Game of the Weeks, League Championship Series, All-Star Games, and World Series telecasts at NBC Sports. Of note while at NBC Sports, Filippelli produced the telecast of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series featuring Kirk Gibson’s game-winning home run against the A’s and at Fox Sports, he produced the telecast of the 1998 game in which Mark McGwire hit his record-breaking 62nd home run of the season. He was also the coordinating producer for Fox Sports’ first World Series (Yankees-Braves in 1996). Over the years at these and the other broadcast networks, Filippelli was responsible for a number of “industry firsts,” such as being the first producer to utilize regular-speed instant replay. At The Baseball Network, he coordinated every aspect of the simultaneous production of 14 MLB game telecasts on any given one night.
Throughout his 46-year career in sports television, Filippelli has been recognized for his achievements in and outside the industry. In 2017, he was inducted into the Silver Circle by the Board of Governors of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, New York Chapter, in recognition of his long and meritorious service in the television industry. In 2014, Filippelli received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from St. Thomas Aquinas College in New York and, in 2013, he was named Executive of the Year by New York University’s Sports Business Society.
He was a board member of the Connecticut Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation for seven years, and is currently an honorary board member. In November 2021, the Connecticut Chapter bestowed upon YES its Wish Spirit Award …”for going above and beyond for nearly two decades to passionately support the organization.”
A Brooklyn native whose father owned a bar across the street from Ebbets Field, Filippelli’s first actual job in sports was as a vendor at Yankee Stadium at age 16. He now resides in Greenwich, CT.
Featured in: Tuesday General Sessions (12/14)