David H. Nevins has left the public relations firm he founded 16 years ago to become president of the Home Team Sports network, his company's largest client.
Comcast Corp. recently purchased HTS with the intention of beefing up its programming lineup to include more news and talk shows.
"Every once in a while an opportunity comes along that falls into the category of once in a lifetime," he said yesterday. "Our clients love us and we love them, but having said that, Comcast ... came to me with an opportunity that seemed just incredibly intriguing."
He will retain ownership of Hunt Valley-based Nevins & Associates, which will be run by a senior management committee. The firm has 14 employees and about 20 clients. "The firm is alive and well," he said.
Amy Elias, president of Profiles Inc., a Baltimore-based public relations firm, said the move makes sense.
"It's a variation on a theme. Home Team Sports is about attracting viewers, and David knows how to reach out to attract people to something, whether it's services or a product," she said. "I think it's a great fit."
She said that the move probably will not create a vacuum in the local marketing community and that she doesn't expect competing firms to go after his company's business.
"To me, that's not the way to get clients," she said. "You look for clients who will work well for your business, not because somebody else stepped aside or is doing something else." Comcast bought Bethesda-based HTS in mid-February from Viacom Inc. and FOX Sports Net for an undisclosed amount. The network's name will change in the next several months to Comcast SportsNet to complement the similar network Comcast has in Philadelphia.
HTS serves nearly 5 million households from Pennsylvania to West Virginia and North Carolina.
"Our goal, without a doubt, is to turn what will become Comcast SportsNet into the No. 1 choice for sports-television viewing throughout the mid-Atlantic region," said Nevins, who served for four years as chairman of Maryland Public Television. "Not just when you want to watch an Orioles or [Washington] Capitals game but for the latest - literally 24 hours a day, seven days a week - in all sports and sports-related information and talk."
Coles Ruff, general manager of TCI Communications of Baltimore, said he's excited about Nevins' move. TCI is one of Nevins & Associates' clients, and the cable company carries the HTS network.
"He creates a great complement because he's been working in public affairs and public relations for so long that, particularly in the mid-Atlantic, he can bring a lot of those assets to Home Team Sports in becoming a bigger regional sports network," Ruff said.
Nevins, 46, who is on the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland, has a bachelor's degree in business administration and political science from Towson State University and a master's in higher education administration from the Johns Hopkins University.