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Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry
New Design Leader for Sorare
Sorare has hired Dan Sormaz as its new head of design. He joins the collectibles company after a decade a Spotify, where he was responsible for building and leading design teams focused on Spotify’s consumer products. At Sorare, he will be responsible for building and leading a design team out of the company’s offices in New York and Paris. From its mobile app to the digital trading cards representing players past and present, design is a crucial component of Sorare’s growth strategy.
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ESPN Events’ Brings on Bahamas Bowl Head
Lea Miller-Tooley has been named the executive director of the Bahamas Bowl, the longest-running international bowl game in college football. Miller-Tooley is the founder and president of Complete Sports Management, a sports marketing agency that founded the Bahamas Bowl in 2014 and specializes in creating sporting events, event management, men’s and women’s basketball tours and sponsorship creation. In addition to the Bahamas Bowl, Miller-Tooley’s Complete Sports Management group has founded the women and men’s annual Battle 4 Atlantis Basketball Tournament. The agency also runs the Crossover Classic and The Invitational, as well as foreign college basketball tours all over the world. Prior to founding Complete Sports Management, Miller-Tooley worked for IMG Worldwide. She also worked in finance in New York City for Morgan Stanley and BMO Capital.
Spotify Intros New Live Shows With Noted Personalities
Spotify introduced two new audio series that will stream live through its app. Upon Further Review, hosted by longtime friends Trey Wingo and Mark Schlereth, will discuss and break down the latest NFL news while also providing expert analysis on the biggest stories in the league. We’re Good Here will provide answers to questions with TV host and sports broadcaster Charissa Thompson.
Fanduel and Yankees Make It Official
FanDuel has a multi-year partnership renewal to become an Official Sports Betting Partner of the New York Yankees. The expanded partnership ensures that the sportsbook remains aligned with the iconic franchise. Under the terms of the agreement, FanDuel will be permitted use of New York Yankees’ marks. Additionally, FanDuel will have premium VIP hospitality accommodations at Yankee Stadium along with integrated FanDuel signage in right field and rotational signage behind home plate during television broadcasts.
Wave Sports + Entertainment and WNBA Team Up for Content
Wave Sports + Entertainment and the WNBA have inked a content deal for the league’s 2022 season. WSE and the WNBA will work together to create social-first, short-form programming highlighting the best moments from past and present seasons and will launch new original series that celebrate the league and its players. Programming will be distributed primarily on WSE’s basketball brand Buckets, which features highlights, coverage and stories, with additional distribution across WSE’s brands. The first series to debut under this new partnership will be The Buckets Five, a weekly show that explores the topics and culture of the WNBA. Coming later this summer is The 26, an original look at the top 26 players from the upcoming WNBA season from the POV of current and former players. WSE will have access to the league’s highlights, player interviews, archival content and tentpole events.
USATF, RealResponse Join To Fight Abuse
USA Track and Field has engaged RealResponse to provide a safe and secure feedback, monitoring and anonymous reporting platform for athletic teams and organizations. USATF will use the platform to track, monitor and address issues encountered by their athletes, coaches and staff. The system allows USATF members to anonymously report, in real-time, from their mobile phones.
LA Soccer Club Launches NFT Collection
Angel City Football Club launched the “ACFC Inaugural Fan Pass Collection” in partnership with club founding partner Crypto.com to commemorate the club’s first game. Fans who are existing users of the Crypto.com NFT Marketplace or who sign up for the Crypto.com NFT Marketplace receive one of the first two NFTs from the collection: the unlimited “Kickoff NFTs,” and the limited “Sol Rosa Kickoff NFTs,” which are capped at 22. Once redeemed, the team will communicate directly with the NFT holders to share access to exclusive digital items and invitations to virtual and physical events throughout the season. As part of their multi-year agreement, ACFC and Crypto.com will host live and virtual events to educate the community on the development of Web3, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and all other activities in this space.
Learfield, Opendorse to Maximize NIL Opportunities for College Athletes
Learfield and Opendorse have entered a strategic relationship to streamline access to name, image and likeness opportunities for college athletes as they engage with their schools’ corporate brand sponsors. Learfield will work with Opendorse as its NIL marketplace provider, supplying multimedia rights to comprehensive NIL solutions. A free, school-specific marketplace will be made available to each university, allowing athletes to connect with brands though its platform. Learfield will also promote Opendorse to local and national brand partners as the preferred marketplace for Learfield Allied arrangements. The agreement will increase the quantity of opportunities for athletes interested in NIL deals, allowing them to apply to participate, approve terms, and receive payments for campaigns brought forward by corporate brands within the Opendorse app.
Deebo Samuel Signs with TrumiiNFT
TrumiiNFT has partnered with star wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who will become a stakeholder in Trumii and participate in company events. There will be a special Deebo Trumii created as part of this collaboration. Samuel will also be an ambassador for Trumii, a collection of 10,101 unique NFTs embracing self-expression in Web3 and real life. Founded by female leaders, TrumiiNFTs will be launching soon. Final details, including mint price, will be announced on their Discord and Twitter account.
Flutie Foundation Partners With Driver on Autism Spectrum
The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism has partnered with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Armani Williams, the first NASCAR driver openly diagnosed on the autism spectrum. As part of this partnership, The Flutie Foundation will be a co-sponsor of Williams’ first race of 2022 at Texas Motor Speedway on May 21. Williams will serve as a Flutie Fellow for next year, collaborating with the organization on a variety of events to support the Flutie Foundation’s mission.
BMW Brings Horsepower to the Kentucky Derby
BMW of North America has signed on as the first-ever official luxury automotive partner of the Kentucky Derby. At the Derby, BMW will showcase its all-new, next-generation BMW 7 Series and first-ever, fully electric BMW i7 before they arrive in showrooms. The activation will also include a brand presence at the Taste of Derby culinary event, and a large on-site footprint including an interactive product display at the main entrance of Churchill Downs Racetrack. VIP and celebrity guests of the Kentucky Derby and Oaks will enter via a BMW immersive red-carpet experience that features the newly updated BMW X7 Sports Activity Vehicle.
Pac-12 Announces Zayo Group as Official Partner
The Pac-12 has made the Zayo Group, a leading global provider of communications infrastructure, an official partner of the conference and its three flagship championship events, the Pac-12 Football Championship Game and the Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments. As an official partner, Zayo will serve as presenting sponsor of Yogi Roth’s The It Factory, a weekly series on the Pac-12 Networks. Zayo will also serve as the presenting sponsor of all interviews on Pac-12 Networks, including celebratory postgame interviews and featured sit-downs. Zayo will also receive in-stadium branding and hospitality along with fan activation opportunities at the events.
Priority Grading and Auction Service Developed
PWCC Marketplace and the Certified Collectibles Group have launched a new program offering estimated 10-day grading turnarounds, no value-based grading tiers, and no upfront fees. The new grading and selling program is accessed via an online submission process on the PWCC website. Cards sent to CCG receive priority grading and encapsulation through its CSG third-party grading service for sports cards or its CGC Trading Cards third-party grading service for non-sports trading cards. Graded cards are immediately added to PWCC’s Auction Builder Curation Algorithm process, which optimizes cards for sale. The cost is $20 per card, although fees will be collected from the final sale of the assets on PWCC Marketplace.