Sportico Transactions: Moves and Mergers Roundup for May 26

Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and products across the sports business industry.


Dirk Nowitzki Joins Sportotal as Investor, Advisor

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Sporttotal AG, a German technology and media company that specializes in using artificial intelligence to deliver automated live sports streaming, announced today that Dirk Nowitzki has become a significant shareholder and joined its advisory board. Nowitzki played 21 seasons in the NBA for the Dallas Mavericks, finishing his career as the league’s sixth all-time leading scorer, and he still lives in Dallas, where Sporttotal’s U.S. subsidiary, Stadium, is headquartered. Nowtizki will join the company’s advisory board effective immediately.

Kiswe Brings on Head of Brand Partnerships

Kiswe, a video technology startup providing live media solutions to global sports and entertainment content owners, has added to its senior team, onboarding Will Fagan as head of brand partnerships. He follows Kisme’s two recent hires: Leigh Andrzejewski as head of business development-creators and T.K. Gore as head of business development-sports. Kiswe continues to scale to meet demand for its solutions in the creator economy and in the sports and entertainment industries.

Gina Patel Promoted to President & CFO of Bluemedia

Gina Patel has been promoted to president and chief financial officer of Bluemedia, a print, build and live events company for businesses and experiential activations, including professional/collegiate sports teams, leagues and venues. In her new role, Patel will lead day-to-day operations and financial management of the company. She joined Bluemedia in late 2020 as VP of finance and was promoted to CFO in May 2021. Patel has more than 16 years of experience in the financial and manufacturing sectors, including aerospace and medical devices. Prior to joining Bluemedia, she held significant roles with Paragon Vision Sciences, Barnes Aerospace and Natural Stone Mfg. Co Inc.


Kerri Walsh Jennings Brings Women’s Professional Volleyball to San Diego

U.S. volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings is the lead owner of a new Pro Volleyball Federation team in San Diego, becoming the sixth announced team of the new women’s professional volleyball league. Walsh Jennings joins longtime business associate Mitch Grossbach and his company Someone Great Management LLC, along with other business partners, in the founding of Pro Volleyball Federation’s first team on the West Coast. The San Diego team makes six announced franchises for the inaugural 2024 season, with additional team announcements expected soon.


NFL Sunday Ticket to Stay in Commercial Establishments Through DirecTV

DirecTV and EverPass Media, a media platform distributing premium live sports and entertainment content to commercial businesses, announced a multiyear agreement making DirecTV for Business, a provider of NFL Sunday Ticket for commercial locations nationwide. The agreement is set to begin with the upcoming 2023 NFL season. DirecTV for Business boasts a nationwide network of more than 300,000 commercial venues, casinos, restaurants, bars, hotel lounges, retail shops and other venues. In addition to NFL Sunday Ticket, DirecTV for Business also distributes exclusive commercial rights for Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer via Apple, as well as the NFL’s Thursday Night Football via Prime Video. EverPass Media is the exclusive distributor of NFL Sunday Ticket to commercial establishments starting with the 2023 NFL season. EverPass is funded by RedBird Capital Partners with the NFL, through its strategic investment arm 32 Equity.


Coca-Cola Renews PGA Tour Committments
The PGA Tour and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) have renewed their relationship, cementing Coke as an official partner of the Tour Championship through the 2027 tournament. In addition, the beverage company has signed a new five-year official marketing partnership deal that sees Coca-Cola return as the official soft drink of the PGA Tour. Coca-Cola has supported the Tour Championship since 2002, and its involvement has played a pivotal role in the Tour Championship’s all-time charitable contribution of
more than $48 million, including a record $5.5 million donation from the 2022 tournament.

PrizePicks Teams With Meek Mill for Brand Awareness Partnership

PrizePicks, a fantasy sports operator in North America, announced that multi-platinum recording artist Meek Mill has joined the company as brand ambassador and culture advisor. The Grammy-nominated performer will focus on drawing new audiences to the PrizePicks platform and integrating the brand within the hip-hop community. In addition to utilizing his social media channels, Meek Mill will be featured in upcoming PrizePicks advertisements and in-app promotional initiatives. He will also work with the company to integrate this initiative into the PrizePicks fantasy sport gaming community and its social channels.

FC Barcelona Inks Kit Partnership With TP Vision

FC Barcelona has signed a new agreement with TP Vision, the company responsible for Philips TV, Philips Sound and AOC Audio products. As part of the deal, the Ambilight TV name will appear on the sleeve of the men’s football shirt, starting when Barça hosts Mallorca at Camp Nou this weekend. This partnership grants TP Vision rights of association with the Barcelona men’s and women’s first teams, as well as the club’s indoor sports teams. TP Vision will also supply screens and digital signage solutions to the new Spotify Camp Nou. During this agreement, players from the men’s and women’s teams will serve as ambassadors for the brand.


SL Benfica and Gotham FC Forge Strategic Partnership to Drive Women’s Soccer

SL Benfica and Gotham FC, the top-ranked club in the National Women’s Soccer League, have formed a partnership aimed at advancing women’s soccer development and expanding their global reach. SL Benfica, as part of its U.S. expansion plan, aims to focus on the vibrant Portuguese/Benfica community of New Jersey and New York. In addition to creating future player transaction opportunities, the partnership also opens potential avenues for growth, collaboration, and business opportunities off the pitch. Benfica will be able to identify and recruit talented players from Gotham FC to play in Europe. Additionally, the partnership presents an array of communication opportunities that will allow both clubs to leverage the strength of each other’s brand. Gotham FC will have access to the knowledge and methodologies of SL Benfica, which boasts one of the best youth academies in the world.

APP Names Ellesse as On-Court Apparel Partner

The Association of Pickleball Players (APP) has partnered with the sports fashion brand Ellesse as its official on-court apparel. As part of Ellesse’s partnership, it will outfit the APP’s broadcast team, as well as the recently announced 2023 APP Next Gen National Team, a collection of twelve of the top 16- to 23-year-old pickleball players in the country. The Ellesse brand will be immersed in the APP Tour with in-venue branding and visibility, including signage, social media promotion, and inclusion in APP Tour broadcast productions—spanning coverage on CBS Sports Network and ESPN2 as well as livestream coverage on APPTV and ESPN+.


DAZN Group, Videocities Join to Combat Piracy

DAZN Group and Videocites, a technology company specializing in automated content detection solutions over social media, have announced a strategic partnership to intensify Dazn’s battle against intellectual property (IP) theft and illegal social media streams of its live sports content. Videocites’ solution uses AI-driven video recognition algorithms, enabling the identification of unauthorized streams even when the video has been manipulated or distorted as part of the pirates’ efforts to circumvent defense mechanisms. Videocites technology enables Dazn to remove 98% of the thousands of pirated streams detected on social media within minutes, representing unprecedented efficiency and protecting the intellectual property of rights owners.

OKX Named Global Sponsor of Majesticks GC Golf Team

OKX, the second largest crypto exchange by trading volume and a leading Web3 technology company, has become the global sponsor of Majesticks GC, one of the 12 teams competing in the new LIV Golf League. The sponsorship also makes OKX the first Web3 sponsor of a LIV Golf team and will see team members Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Sam Horsfield and Laurie Canter (temporary injury replacement for Sam Horsfield) sport the OKX logo on the team kits. Through the partnership, the team and OKX will work together to offer innovative Web3 engagement opportunities and fan experiences at LIV tournaments in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia.


McLaren, Deloitte Extend Sustainability Partnership

McLaren Racing announced a multi-year extension to its partnership with Deloitte. Since 2020, Deloitte and McLaren have been working to help enhance the performance of the McLaren F1 team and its operations, which includes capturing and analyzing data to optimize car performance and applying digital twin simulation to help inform race day decision-making. Deloitte will help to further embed circularity, the concept of eliminating waste and maximizing resources through reuse and recycling, into McLaren’s sustainability mission. This will support the business to advance towards its net zero targets without compromising performance. Deloitte and McLaren will also look to leverage GreenSpace Tech by Deloitte, a newly-launched offering that connects organizations with new and existing technologies and ecosystems that can help accelerate their decarbonization efforts.


Los Angeles Dodgers Chairman Invests in Professional Squash

The Sports, Media and Entertainment Group, led by Los Angeles Dodgers chairman Mark Walter, has acquired a stake in Squash Media & Marketing (SMM), a commercial entity created and managed by the Professional Squash Association (PSA), as part of a major investment in the sport. The investment will be used to optimize the structure of the PSA Tour and will allow SMM to deliver more events with a view to increasing player compensation and improving the fan experience. The additional funding will also be used to increase marketing of the sport and the PSA’s athletes, develop new digital products and services and ramp up the creation and distribution of engaging content.



NFL Adds Two Clubs, Four Markets to Global Markets Program

The NFL’s International Committee has approved the growth of the league’s Global Markets Program for its second year. Twenty-one clubs will now participate in the program in 2023 across 14 international markets, up from 19 participating clubs across 10 markets last year. The Global Markets Program—which launched in January 2022 and was previously referred to as the International Home Marketing Areas program—grants NFL clubs access to international markets for marketing, fan engagement and commercialization activations as part of a long-term strategic effort to enable clubs to build their brands globally while driving NFL fan growth beyond the U.S. Participating clubs have also activated their rights around several NFL tentpole events, including the International Games in London, Germany and Mexico in 2022; the 2023 Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas;, and the 2022 and 2023 NFL Drafts.

Chairman Gus Bilirakis Releases Discussion Draft of NIL Reform Package 

Chairman Gus Bilirakis released text of the Fairness Accountability and Integrity in Representation of College Sports Act (FAIR College Sports Act). This legislation would preempt current and future state-level name, image, and likeness (NIL) laws to ensure there is one national framework to govern how collegiate athletes receive compensation for such activities. The release of this discussion draft follows subcommittee activity over the past two congresses when members heard testimony from current and former collegiate athletes, university presidents and athletic directors, the NCAA, and conference presidents imploring Congress to take action to create a level playing field for all students and educational institutions across the nation. This discussion draft represents the next step in a robust process to solicit formal feedback from all stakeholders and elected officials regarding the portions of the text that are within the primary jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee.


Pro Padel League Signs Deal With CBS Sports

The Pro Padel League (PPL), North America’s first professional Padel league, has signed a deal with CBS SPortss to air the PPL’s championship match on CBS Sports Network. The two-hour programming will cover the PPL Championship Match on June 11 and will air tape-delayed on CBS Sports Network on June 22 at 7 p.m. ET. The PPL’s inaugural season kicked off May 13 with seven teams and will conclude with the championship weekend June 10-11 with a four-team playoff for the PPL Cup.

Pixellot Launches The Show S3 Camera for AI-Automated Sports Video Production

Pixellot, a provider of automated sports video and analytics solutions, unveils the Pixellot Show S3, the next generation AI-automated sports camera. With over 3 million games produced to date, the S3’s development was based on eight years of field experience and collaborative customer feedback. It was designed to address the current challenges of sports organizations looking to livestream games easily and cost-effectively, making it ideal for sports leagues and federations, educational organizations and broadcasters.


Derek Jeter Invests in Meati Foods

MLB Hall of Famer Derek Jeter has joined Meati Food as an investor and advisor. Mushroom based Meati products are available in Sprouts nationwide, as well as restaurants such as PLNT Burger and Birdcall. Jeter joins a roster of supporters, including cook, philanthropist and television personality, Rachael Ray; chef and founder of Momofuku and Majordomo Media, David Chang; the co-founders of restaurant chain Sweetgreen, Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Neman; and former White House senior policy advisor for nutrition, Sam Kass.

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