Bob Bowman, a top Major League Baseball executive who was the architect of the league’s wildly successful digital operation, was reportedly ousted last month over several incidents of misconduct that occurred during his 17-year tenure.
Major League Baseball announced last month that Bowman, who was president of MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) would be leaving when his contract expired at the end of this year.
But a Wall Street Journal report Thursday attributed Bowman’s departure to a number of allegations of inappropriate behavior, including the hiring of female escorts for an MLBAM party at the 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego.
The Journal report also said Bowman allegedly conducted consensual sexual relationships with subordinate employees and promoted an alcohol-driven, hard-partying culture within the company. Bowman also verbally abused an employee in October, which prompted Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to arrange his departure, according to the report.
Bowman released a broad statement to the Journal that acknowledged his behavior.
“The culture that started at BAM [MLBAM] was hard working and driven. At times, it was also inappropriate and I take full responsibility,” he said. “This inappropriate behavior reflects my personal flaws and not someone else’s. This behavior and my personal behavior were wrong. To those who felt the sting of my behavior, I am truly sorry. To my family, friends and business colleagues who have been steadfastly supportive of me, and whom I have embarrassed, I apologize.”
A Major League Baseball representative declined to comment.
Bowman is the latest among a string of high-profile figures in media and government in recent months who’ve lost their jobs following allegations of inappropriate behavior.
Bowman, 62, made the 30 owners of Major League Baseball teams a fortune by getting each to invest $1 million to launch MLB Advanced Media in 2000.
Under Bowman’s direction, the company developed the technology for digital streaming of baseball, generating hundreds of millions in revenue each year as more fans consume video online and on mobile devices.
MLBAM also provided its technology services to other media companies such as HBO, which used it for its HBO Now direct-to-consumer service, Hulu and ESPN.
MLBAM spun off its technology arm, known as BAMTech, as a separate company. The Walt Disney Co. acquired majority ownership of BAMTech in August as part of its plans to launch its own direct-to-consumer streaming services. The deal with Disney valued the company at $3.75 billion.