Sportico Transactions: Moves and Mergers Roundup for April 28

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


Australia’s NBL Promotes New CEO

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Australia’s National Basketball League has appointed David Stevenson as chief executive officer. Stevenson previously held positions as the Australian Football League’s general manager of operations, CEO of the Western Bulldogs and as VP & GM of emerging markets at Nike. During almost seven years at the AFL and 17 years at Nike, Stevenson held positions in sports, commercial, operations, and retail both in Australia, New Zealand and across Asia and the U.S. He also has strong governance experience as the board chair of a state government health service. Jeremy Loeliger will continue as NBL commissioner and work with Stevenson on international relations and key strategic outcomes. The league will aggressively pursue growth and explore potential expansion. Stevenson will start in July.

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USL Announces Departure of Its President

The United Soccer League announced the departure of Jake Edwards, concluding a 10-year tenure, including eight as president. Working closely with USL CEO Alec Papadakis and the rest of the executive team, Edwards helped guide the USL’s strategic transformation into a modern, internationally recognized soccer organization with seven national leagues, 36 professional clubs and nearly 200 pre-professional teams across the United States. Edwards first joined the USL in 2013 as the executive vice president before being named president in 2015. He helped manage the USL’s rebrand in 2015, and the structural transformation in 2019 that established the USL Championship, League One and League Two aligned as the three tiers of the men’s senior league structure.

Sportradar Appoints New CEO

Sportradar Group AG (NASDAQ: SRAD) has named Gerard Griffin as chief financial officer. Griffin most recently served as CFO at Zynga Inc., a global leader in interactive entertainment. Griffin will be based in St. Gallen and will be responsible for the company’s accounting, finance and investor relations operations. He will report directly to CEO and founder Carsten Koerl. Griffin brings more than 25 years of leadership experience in financial and operational management within the gaming, media and technology sectors. At Zynga, he oversaw the company’s accounting, finance and investor relations functions. Before joining Zynga, Griffin spent more than 10 years at Electronic Arts Inc.


AS Roma Names New CEO and General Manager

AS Roma has named Lina Souloukou to the joint roles of chief executive officer and general manager, effective immediately. After attending law school, where she specialized in sports law, Souloukou began her career in football, where she has been working for over 15 years. In 2018 she was appointed CEO of Olympiacos FC, a role she held until June 2022. Additionally, in 2019 she was appointed as a member of ECA’s executive board, a position that she still holds today.


IMG Arena and NWSL Agree on Data Deal

IMG Arena has secured the exclusive worldwide data and streaming rights for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and been appointed as its official integrity partner. The multi-year deal will see IMG Arena capture and deliver data from more than 161 NWSL and UKG NWSL Challenge Cup games per season for its global network of more than 460 sportsbook operators, as well as distribute live streaming for betting. As the league’s official integrity partner, IMG Arena will also provide NWSL with full monitoring services to safeguard competitions and tournaments. 


Women’s Sports Network Becomes an Official FAST TV Media Partner of the NWSL

FAST Studios’ Women’s Sports Network, a 24/7 network dedicated to women’s sports, has partnered with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), becoming an Official FAST (free ad-supported TV) media partner of the League for non-live match content. The NWSL aims to utilize the Women’s Sports Network’s platform to further drive viewership, spotlight players, and extend brand partner opportunities through interviews, features, long-form storytelling and a signature weekly highlight show called Versus. The two brands aim to increase access, representation and visibility for women in sports. As part of the partnership, the Women’s Sports Network will show NWSL highlights and player interviews on the network’s signature daily studio show, Game On. The show will additionally broadcast live pre-match episodes from this year’s NWSL playoffs and championship games.

Tempus Ex Machina Brings FusionFeed Tech to Virtual Tables Fan Engagement Platform

Tempus Ex Machina, a sports and entertainment technology startup, has partnered with Virtual Tables, an organization that takes in-person fan experiences virtual. Tempus Ex will leverage Virtual Table’s live autograph tool, DigiSign; the new partnership will enable leagues, teams, brands and athletes to utilize Tempus Ex’s FusionFeedTM technology and allow an athlete to sign a digital autograph, in real time, over a clip of never-before-seen footage. Utilizing Tempus Ex’s FusionFeed technology, Virtual Tables will provide game highlights to users that can be signed by a player for fans or brand agreements.


WNBA Joins AGA’s ‘Bet Responsibility’ Public Service Campaign

The WNBA and American Gaming Association (AGA) are teaming up to promote responsible sports betting through AGA’s Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly. public service campaign. The NBA is also a partner in the campaign. The league will educate its fans on responsible sports wagering by providing turnkey resources for use by the league’s 12 teams and expand the WNBA’s responsible gaming efforts. Campaign content will include in-venue, broadcast, digital and social media activations, as well as in-app and website integration into the league’s WNBABet tab and content. Campaign activations by the WNBA and its teams will begin with the start of the 2023 WNBA season on Friday, May 19, and continue throughout the league’s regular season and playoffs.

CBS Will to Broadcast CFL Games

The Canadian Football League (CFL) is bringing its high-scoring, fast-paced football to CBS Sports Network (CBSSN). The 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports will carry 34 CFL games in the United States this year as part of a new multi-year deal. The initial slate of CFL on CBS Sports Network games will feature the league’s season opener and its traditional holiday weekend matchups, including Labor Day weekend. The full CFL on CBS Sports Network schedule will be announced closer to the beginning of the season. The CFL and CBSSN will work together to elevate Canadian football’s profile in the U.S.


Vodafone Partners With Wing for Hologram Coaching Session Featuring Emma Raducanu

In a new Vodafone campaign developed and executed by creative agency WING, new hologram technology powered by Vodafone’s 5G network brought 20-year-old tennis superstar Emma Raducanu to two talented young grassroots tennis players with the first-ever 5G holographic coaching session while being 4,370 miles apart. 4000 Mile Holo5Gram Coach is a continuation of Vodafone’s 8000 Mile Auto5Graph from July 2021 featuring the British and Irish Lions. Both campaigns were devised and delivered by Wing.


Portland Trail Blazers Launch G League Team to Play on University of Portland Campus

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA G League team that will launch in the Chiles Center on the University of Portland’s campus in North Portland. The team is expected to debut in the 2023-24 season, and the NBA G League will expand to a record 31 teams for the 2023-24 season. The name and brand identity of the team will be announced at a later date, as well as the front office and coaching staff.



NBC Sports Next’s GolfPass Launches Free Ad-Supported Membership

GolfPass, NBC Sports Next’s comprehensive digital membership and video streaming platform co-founded by Rory McIlroy, announced a new ad-supported membership tier offering free access to thousands of hours of curated, top-tier golf instruction series, original entertainment, Golf Channel classics and golf tournament replays. GolfPass Free is available to anyone by simply creating a free account. People who have previously set up an account with other NBC Sports golf brands, including GolfNow, TeeOff and GolfNow Compete will have automatic access. Existing GolfPass+ members ($99/year) will continue to have access to ad-free video content, as well as their other membership benefits, such as tee-time savings on GolfNow and TeeOff, discounts on golf apparel and gear, complimentary access to Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, and more.

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