Talk about your strange bedfellows, Harrah’s World Series of Poker has lured away another executive from the NFL, a league with an almost evangelical-like aversion to gambling.
Last week, Seth Palansky, who for the past five years has overseen corporate communications efforts for the NFL Network, the league’s owned and operated television channel, was named Communications Director for the World Series of Poker and the company’s Sports & Entertainment division.
Palansky will replace Gary Thompson, who was named Director of Corporate Communications for Harrah’s Entertainment. Palansky will assume his new role March 3 and report to Jeffrey Pollack, Commissioner of the WSOP and Vice President of Sports & Entertainment for Harrah’s. Thompson will continue to advise Pollack and will lead efforts to relaunch the Poker Hall of Fame.
"Seth’s extensive sports and entertainment marketing experience and personal network of global media contacts will serve us well as we enter a new and exciting period of growth for poker’s No. 1 brand," said Pollack.
"I am looking forward to joining the WSOP team," said Palansky. "There are a lot of exciting things going on at Harrah’s and I can’t wait to get started."
As official spokesman for the NFL Network and for the league on television and media-policy issues, Palansky reported directly to NFL President and CEO Steve Bornstein and NFL Senior Vice President Greg Aiello.
As the first employee of the NFL Network, Palansky oversaw the launch of the channel and was responsible for all corporate communications strategy and media relations functions pertaining to distribution, marketing, legal, government affairs, programming, production, talent relations and sales.
Prior to that, he managed media relations for News Corporation’s cable asset Fox Sports Net, a collection of 15 regional cable networks that owned the television rights to 67 MLB, NBA and NHL teams. Previously, he worked in management positions with various sports and entertainment public relations firms and as director of operations for a wholesale clothing company.
Palansky is the second NFL executive to join the WSOP team. Ty Stewart, Director of Sponsorship and Licensing for the brand, was at the NFL for eight years before assuming his current position at Harrah’s.