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Weekend Plans With YES Network's John Filippelli

By Paul Sanford
Filippelli (m) calls Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Yankee Stadium his busiest days of the weekJOHN FILIPPELLI

Since becoming the net's first employee in the fall of ’01, YES Network President of Production & Programming JOHN FILIPPELLI has proven invaluable, as he built the fledgling network into a powerhouse RSN with his experience, leadership and innovative ideas. He said it was his chance to “change the landscape” and “bring network sensibility to a regional network.” Filippelli possesses an easy-going, friendly and humorous nature, which was on full display when he recently took some time to chat with THE DAILY about his busy weekends at Yankee Stadium.

SEASON TICKET: Over the course of a season, I’m not there every game. I’m probably at about 35 (home games), but if you count pleasure it’s probably about 45. But even when I’m there for work it’s also pleasure. You go to the truck, you say hello, you check what’s going on. It’s just a way of letting everybody know that you care and you’re as engaged in this as they are. Sometimes we just talk about life, which is just as important as talking about a game because the game coverage is people and it’s my job to make sure they’re in a place of comfort.

COUNTRY LIFE: I have lived in Greenwich, Conn., for 37 years and have been married for 38 years to my wife, GINA. I travel into the city to the office various ways, but most of the time I just take the train. Believe it or not, I find the train relaxing because I can sit, I can read and I can get my head around what I need to do. In terms of my weekends during the baseball season, there’s not a lot of time because Friday, Saturday and Sunday are really three of the biggest days of the week. My days are almost never-ending and that’s the challenge of the job. But that’s also the enjoyment of it. When I have free time, it’s spent with my family. My kids are now grown and married and out of the house, so it’s my wife and I. We go to the ballpark a lot and make it like a date.  

HOME LIFE
: When not at the ballpark, we have friends come over. We like to barbeque. I love ballpark food because it’s what I do. I know it’s terrible in this day and age of health, but on the grill I find myself doing ballpark food. My wife is working really hard to get me to eat healthier. I love going for walks and I’m very much into my guitar. I will spend time with my wife, we’ll do some gardening, we’ll go see some friends. We’re big movie fans. I love going to movies, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I re-watched “All the President’s Men” and it’s just a tremendous movie. In many ways it’s a cautionary tale given the political environment. Next to Yankee baseball, my favorite thing to watch is “CBS Sunday Morning” because the mood of that show fits perfectly with what a Sunday morning is supposed to be. 

WEEKEND GETAWAY: We actually enjoy going into (N.Y.) and we work with charities. My wife is still on the board for Make-A-Wish. My youngest son was a Make-A-Wish child and we nearly lost him to cancer. Outside of work Make-A-Wish has been our singular focus all these years. We sponsor and host a gala the first week of November at the Greenwich Country Club and have raised millions of dollars over the years. We’re actually going over to Europe (for the Yankees-Red Sox series in London). We don’t have a lot of responsibility as the games are on Fox and ESPN, but we do pre- and postgame shows. I’ll troubleshoot, I’ll oversee a little bit. I’m just going to stop by to say hello over that weekend and then spend a little time in Italy.  

Know of someone you'd like to see featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot an email to tleary@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

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