Charles F. Dolan
Charles Francis Dolan

(1926-10-16) October 16, 1926 (age 97)
Alma materJohn Carroll University
Known forFounder of Cablevision & HBO
SpouseHelen Ann Dolan
Children6, including James L. Dolan

Charles Francis Dolan (born October 16, 1926) is an American billionaire businessman, best known as founder of Cablevision and HBO.[1] Today, Dolan controls Madison Square Garden Sports, MSG Networks, Madison Square Garden Entertainment, Madison Square Garden, Sphere, Radio City Music Hall, BBC America and AMC Networks. As of October 2021, his net worth was estimated at US$5.6 billion.[2]

Early life

Dolan was born in Cleveland, Ohio, of Irish Catholic descent. His father, David, sold a patent to Ford Motor.[3][4] [5]He served in the United States Army Air Forces at the end of World War II[6] and studied at John Carroll University, before dropping out and entering the telecommunications field.[4]


Dolan's earliest professional endeavors focused on the packaging, marketing and distribution of sports and industrial films, which he produced with his wife in their Cleveland home and then sold to televisions stations which syndicated the material.[7] Dolan sold his interests to Telenews in exchange for a job,[8] and when he was 26 years old, he moved to New York and founded Teleguide Inc, a service that provided information to hotels.[9]

That same decade, Dolan founded Sterling Manhattan Cable, the first company to wire buildings to have cable television access.[9] In its early years, Sterling forged first-of-its-kind agreements to bring New York professional sports teams, cultural programming and movies into the homes of New York City cable viewers,[10] including agreements with the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.[8] Two years later, he sold Sterling Cable's Manhattan operations to Time Inc and renamed his Long Island business Cablevision Systems.[9]

In the early 1970s, Dolan founded Home Box Office, the first premium programming service in the cable television industry, which he sold to Time Life.[7][9] Later, he organized Cablevision Systems Corporation on Long Island[11] and has spearheaded many of the company's advancements.[8] After that, he was the vision behind VOOM, Cablevision's effort to expand content delivery and meet the demands of the exploding HDTV market,[12] which was expected to include six million households by the end of 2003 and 12 million by year-end 2005, but was shut down when other directors deemed it financially unsustainable.

From 2001 through early 2002, Dolan was a bidder in the sale of the Boston Red Sox. He submitted a maximum bid of $750 million,[13] but ultimately lost out to a group headed by John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino.[14]

In 2016, Dolan sold Cablevision to Patrick Drahi's Altice USA for $17.7 billion.[2]

Affiliations and honors

Personal life

Dolan and his wife, Helen Ann Dolan, reside in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York.[16] They have six children,[2] including James L. Dolan,[2] who is executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company and its professional sports teams, the New York Knicks and New York Rangers,[17] and Patrick Dolan, principal owner and publisher of Newsday.

Dolan's younger brother, Larry Dolan, and his nephew, Paul Dolan, own the Cleveland Guardians.[18]


Dolan and his wife contributed $125,000 to Donald Trump's 2020 presidential campaign.[19]


The Fairfield University Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University is named in recognition of Dolan's $25 million donation in 2000 and his service to the university as a member of the board of trustees.[20]

The Dolan Center for Science and Technology is John Carroll University's showcase building. Completed in 2003 at a cost of over $66 million, it houses JCU's science departments, including Mathematics and Computer Science.[21]


  1. ^ "Corporate Leadership | Charles Dolan". Cablevision. October 16, 1926. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Forbes profile: Charles Dolan & family". Forbes. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  3. ^ "Charles Dolan" (PDF). Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Charles Dolan". Cable Center 2000 Honorees.
  5. ^ "The richest Irish man alive. Bet you don't know who he is". January 22, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2024.
  6. ^ CABLE READY : Maverick CEO Charles Dolan's Vision Makes Cablevision a Powerhouse, December 11, 1994.
  7. ^ a b "Charles Dolan". Bloomberg News. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c HARRIS, KATHRYN (December 11, 1994). "CABLE READY : Maverick CEO Charles Dolan's Vision Makes Cablevision a Powerhouse". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d Merced, Michael J. de la (September 17, 2015). "The Dolans, the Clan That Built the Cablevision Empire, Say Goodbye". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  10. ^ Gent, George (July 12, 1973). "SterlingW Will Bring Pay TV to Manhattan Next Fall". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  11. ^ Rather, John (June 19, 1988). "Long Island Interview: Charles F. Dolan: A Cable Pioneer Sees a New Age of TV Dawning". The New York Times. p. LI-2. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 10, 2023.
  12. ^ JOURNAL, Peter GrantStaff Reporter of THE WALL STREET (January 24, 2005). "At Cablevision, Father-Son Split Looms Over Future". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  13. ^ "Sale of Red Sox approved". January 16, 2002. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  14. ^ "Red Sox reach deal to sell team for record $700m – The Boston Globe". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  15. ^ "Congratulations Dr. Charles F. Dolan". Fairfield University. November 2, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  16. ^ Finnigan, William (March 13, 2023). "The Fight Over Penn Station and Madison Square Garden". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 10, 2023.
  17. ^ James Dolan profile, Wall Street Journal.
  18. ^ "Dolan family known for the Cleveland Indians, Cablevision: PD 175". The Plain Dealer. November 22, 2017.
  19. ^ "Here Are The Billionaires Who Donated To Donald Trump's 2020 Presidential Campaign". Forbes. Retrieved March 28, 2024.
  20. ^ "Fairfield University's business school a valuable resource" Archived November 15, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, Fairfield County Business Journal, January 20, 2003.
  21. ^ "Explore the Dolan Center for Science and Technology – Mathematics and Computer Science", John Carroll University website (October 2016).