NEW YORK (February 1, 2024) – Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: MSGE) (“MSG Entertainment”) and Sphere Entertainment Co. (NYSE: SPHR) today announced that Laura Franco, an accomplished executive with more than 30 years of legal experience, has been named Executive Vice President and General Counsel for both companies, effective February 20. Ms. Franco will serve as both companies’ chief legal officer, working closely with their respective leadership teams to support long-term direction and growth.
In this role, Ms. Franco will oversee all legal functions across a broad range of disciplines including corporate, commercial, transactional, litigation, and regulatory matters. She will be responsible for and direct corporate and business legal affairs for MSG Entertainment and Sphere Entertainment, including managing the development, negotiation, and execution of all material business transactions. Ms. Franco will report to James L. Dolan, who serves as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of both MSG Entertainment and Sphere Entertainment.
“We are pleased to welcome Laura to the MSG Family of Companies,” said Mr. Dolan. “Laura’s background handling high-profile corporate and business legal matters at premier media companies will be a valuable addition to our Legal teams, and we look forward to leveraging her expertise as both companies pursue their business strategies.”
“The opportunity to take on this role with two leading entertainment companies is a significant professional milestone,” said Ms. Franco. “I look forward to working with the management teams at both companies to ensure we continue to deliver excellence across our Legal operations and help drive both MSG Entertainment and Sphere Entertainment’s growth initiatives.”
Ms. Franco joins the MSG Family of Companies from Bumble Inc., the parent company of the global dating and social connection apps Bumble and Badoo, where she served as Chief Legal and Compliance Officer. As a member of Bumble Inc.’s executive management leadership team, she helped oversee its Initial Public Offering; established public company governance; managed compliance, litigation and public policy; and advised on corporate strategy, including mergers and acquisitions, building and protecting the intellectual property portfolio, product and international expansion.
Prior to joining Bumble in 2020, Ms. Franco spent more than 25 years at Viacom Inc. and CBS Corporation (now “Paramount Global”) in roles of increasing responsibility. In her last role at CBS as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Ms. Franco spearheaded critical company initiatives and major company-wide corporate transactions, including CBS’ merger with Viacom in 2019. Ms. Franco began her legal career at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in the firm’s corporate department where she handled transactions including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and other strategic alliances and initiatives.
Ms. Franco is a Board Member and Chair of the Safety Committee at Virgin Voyages, a cruise line.
Ms. Franco received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her Bachelor of Science degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
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About Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp.
Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. is a leader in live entertainment, delivering unforgettable experiences while forging deep connections with diverse and passionate audiences. The Company’s portfolio includes a collection of world-renowned venues – New York’s Madison Square Garden, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and Beacon Theatre; and The Chicago Theatre – that showcase a broad array of sporting events, concerts, family shows, and special events for millions of guests annually. In addition, the Company features the original production, the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, which has been a holiday tradition for 90 years. More information is available at msgentertainment.com.
About Sphere Entertainment
Sphere Entertainment Co. is a premier live entertainment and media company. The Company includes Sphere, a next-generation entertainment medium powered by cutting-edge technologies to redefine the future of entertainment. The first Sphere venue opened in Las Vegas in September 2023. In addition, the Company includes MSG Networks, which operates two regional sports and entertainment networks, MSG Network and MSG Sportsnet, as well as a direct-to-consumer and authenticated streaming product, MSG+, delivering a wide range of live sports content and other programming. More information is available at sphereentertainmentco.com.