Blake Bilstad wants companies to disrupt their markets and revolutionize their sectors.
Bilstad is the general counsel, senior vice president, and secretary of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which recently launched the WWE Network. The network is a subscription-based, direct-to-consumer service that gives fans access to 24-7 programming, live pay-per-view events, and a video-on-demand library.
The introduction of a network to WWE’s product offerings has required legal’s input on everything from content to marketing. Bilstad was an important part of this; he joined WWE to help the company launch its network. Bilstad has spent his career focusing on emerging technologies, a specialization he first studied at Harvard Law School. “My love of new technologies and how they intersect with the law is what I feel made me a perfect fit with WWE when I joined as general counsel in 2015,” Bilstad says.
After graduation, Bilstad worked for Cooley Godward in San Diego, California. He specialized in corporate securities, mergers and acquisitions, venture financings, and public offerings for emerging technology companies. In 1999, he went in-house with his client, MP3.com, in an attempt to “revolutionize music, media, and entertainment into the digital era.”
Five years later, Bilstad joined ProFlowers.com, which he helped to grow into a major direct-to-consumer e-commerce retailer that included several brands. He helped sell the company to Liberty Media in 2006 and to FTD Group in 2014.
“At the core of every successful company I have been a part of is an unwavering focus and dedication to the customer.”
Though Bilstad wasn’t a true “superfan” of WWE when recruiters contacted him, he says he has fond memories of the first WrestleManias, which debuted in the eighties. Memories aside, Bilstad says he would never have predicted that he would be WWE’s general counsel, and it’s been a great fit. “You never know until you take a chance and explore new opportunities that may present themselves,” he says.
Bilstad leads a team of sixteen people and oversees legal and business affairs. This covers a range of subjects, from media broadcasting and live events to risk management and litigation. Still, regardless of a company’s products or industry, Bilstad says the companies he’s worked for have a few traits in common.
“At the core of every successful company I have been a part of is an unwavering focus and dedication to the customer,” Bilstad says. “To me, the future of entertainment is exactly that: delivering what the customer wants to consume, when and how they want to consume it.
“New technologies have created fantastic new opportunities for the delivery of entertainment to consumers,” Bilstad adds. “WWE is at the forefront of entertainment companies doing just that—giving the fans what they want, when and how they want it.”