Wilson Forms Paragon Sports Entertainment

LOS ANGELES Former Gaylord Cable Networks president Cindy Wilson has launched Paragon Sports Entertainment, a company that offers branded entertainment opportunities through televised events and sports-related TV series and specials.

Wilson, 42, will serve as president of the 15-person company, which is based in Los Angeles and has offices in New York and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Paragon will initially focus on professional golf events. The company is currently working with the PGA Tour to launch a Challenge Season event in 2004 and a Champions Tour event in 2005. Paragon has also partnered with the Motion Picture & Television Fund to produce the Michael Douglas and Friends Celebrity Golf tournament, which is now in its sixth year.

Wilson, who previously managed five international music television channels for Gaylord and supervised more than 100 employees at five offices worldwide, said she chose to launch Paragon after the Oklahoma Publishing Co. decided in April to withdraw from the golf event business, which included Gaylord Event Television, and focus on its core newspaper publishing business.

“I knew there were events in existence that had a history of success,” said Wilson, citing the Michael Douglas tournament. “Gaylord sales support was also available, and they have a long track record of doing PGA events and selling sponsorships.”

Paragon’s management team also includes senior vice president of sales Paul Slagle, who previously worked at Fox Sports, ESPN and Octagon, and leads Paragon’s New York office; West Coast senior vice president of sales Garth Casper, previously affiliated with Gaylord Event Television and its predecessor, Jack Nicklaus Productions; Paragon Sports Latin America president Juan Fabbri, who owns and operates sports and music cable channels like Boca TV, Solo Tango and Music Country; vice president of development Mitchell Freund, who has worked with networks including SportsChannel New England, Hearst Entertainment and Gaylord Cable Networks; vice president of marketing Jennifer Biehn, also formerly with Gaylord and Jack Nicklaus; and head of business affairs David Sherman, previously with Jack Nicklaus.