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Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry
Kansas City Current Names a President
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The NWSL’s Kansas City Current has hired Allison Howard to the newly-created role of team president. She will oversee all business operations and report directly to ownership. Howard joins the club after a 10-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, the last five she spent as vice president of corporate partnerships. Prior to her time with the Lakers, Howard was VP at Premier Partnerships, where she sold and managed naming rights partnerships all over the country. Howard begins her role with the team immediately.
Sport & Story Adds New Head of Partnerships
Subscription-based content and fan membership platform, Sport & Story has added industry veteran Krissy Gilbertson as head of partnership development. Gilbertson will lead all efforts in expanding strategic partnerships towards generating additional revenue for schools and adding to the robust offering of membership benefits for their fans. Gilbertson comes from the University of Arkansas, where served as senior director, partnership services and operations. Prior to her roles in Fayetteville, Gilbertson spent four years at the University of Oregon as partner services coordinator for the Ducks’ IMG property. Sport & Story launched content subscription platforms, including OTT apps for connected TV devices, at the University of Arkansas (Hogs+) and Oklahoma State University (OSU Max) and will be launching with several more schools in time for football season.
Hershey Re-ups Sweet Olympics Deal Through LA28 Games
Chocolate maker Hershey has renewed its support of Team USA and will partner with the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The deal will cover Paris 2024 and Cortina 2026 as well as LA. The agreement builds on the partnership and support Hershey provided to Team USA athletes who competed in Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020. Hershey will also utilize NBCUniversal’s Olympic and Paralympic platforms to support the partnership.
Pickleball Powers Team Up with Skechers
Intersport and the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) Tour, USA Pickleball and Major League Pickleball (MLP), the nation’s elite professional pickleball circuits, have entered into multi-year agreements with Skechers that makes the brand the Official Footwear Company of each pickleball organization. A formal announcement came at the Franklin New York City Open, the APP Tour event that is taking place Memorial Day weekend at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, home of the US Open tennis tournament.
Fitness Co. Closes $6 Million Investment Led by KB Partners
Omorpho, which makes micro-weighted sportswear, closed a $6 million seed funding round at a $26 million valuation that was led by KB Partners, with significant participation from Greenchain Capital and Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. The company’s Gravity Sportswear collection with MicroLoad, places small amounts of weight across the body, and is designed to fitness. Omorpho has also signed partnerships with fitness instructors Kirsty Godso, Julie “Jaws” Nelson, Mandy DiMarzo and Claire Thomas as well as NFL players Alex Mattison, DeeJay Dallas and Britain Covey. Additionally, Omorpho has entered a previously unannounced strategic distribution partnership with Carbon38. Omorpho’s latest funding brings the total investment in the company to $13 million.
SX Global Announces Supercross Teams
SX Global named four of the 10 exclusive team licenses it will issue for its inaugural global championship. Manufacturer participation in the series is strong, with up to six represented in the FIM World Supercross Championship. The four teams include American-based MotoConcepts Honda and Pipes Motorsports Group, along with France’s Bud Racing Kawasaki and GSM Yamaha. WSX features an exclusive team ownership structure that allows each team to increase its value over time, while also enabling commercial opportunities on global and regional levels for international and local events.