Sportico Transactions: Moves and mergers Roundup for November 11
Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry.
Giorgio Furlani Named CEO of AC Milan
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AC Milan has appointed Giorgio Furlani as chief executive officer of the Italian soccer club. Furlani will succeed Ivan Gazidis, who will end his tenure at the club next month. A Milan native, Furlani has served as a member of the AC Milan board of directors since 2018 and has played an integral role in the club’s success under the ownership of Elliott Advisors, from which he will step down to take the CEO job.
Bjørn Gulden to Become CEO of Adidas AG
Effective Jan. 1, 2023, Bjørn Gulden will take over as CEO of Adidas AG and will have a seat on the executive board. Gulden, 57, has been CEO of Puma SE since 2013. He had been senior vice president of apparel and accessories at Adidas from 1992 to 1999. After that, he was CEO of Danish jewelry brand Pandora; managing director of Europe’s largest footwear retailer, Deichmann; president of Rack Room Shoes; and held various management positions at outdoor apparel company Helly Hansen. He’s also chairman of the board of Salling Group, Denmark’s largest food retailer.
Mets Name SVP of Corporate Partnerships
The New York Mets have added Brenden Mallette as senior vice president, corporate partnerships. Mallette joins the Mets from the Detroit Pistons, where he spent the last two years as the franchise’s senior vice president of corporate partnerships & engagement. He has five seasons of pro baseball experience, leading the San Francisco Giants’ partnerships and business development team from 2016-2020. The Toronto native spent the previous decade in leadership roles with Live Nation and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.
Stadium Live Adds Longtime Sales Exec to Lead Business Development and Revenue
Stadium Live has hired longtime sales executive Warren Jansons as its first head of business development and revenue. In this new position, Jansons will lead Stadium Live’s business development efforts with leagues, teams and brands to expand their user base and offer Gen Z a platform to connect over sports, gaming, music and fashion. He will also spearhead the company’s overall monetization efforts. Before joining Stadium Live, Jansons dually served as SVP of revenue for Enthusiast Gaming and chief commercial officer (CCO) for its subsidiary company AFK Media. In July, Stadium Live raised a $10 million series A round, led by KB Partners and Union Square Ventures, with participation from Kevin Durant’s 35 Ventures, Blaise Matuidi’s Origins Fund, Dapper Labs Ventures, Position Ventures, Valhalla Ventures, 6th Man Ventures, Alumni Ventures and Breakout Capital.
SX Global Appoints Adam Bailey as CEO
SX Global announced that Adam Bailey has been promoted to chief executive officer, while Tony Cochrane will assume a new role as vice chairman of the SX Global board of directors. Prior to the promotion, Bailey was the director of motorsports, where he spearheaded development of the series’ financial model, negotiations and onboarding of the 10 exclusive team licenses, as well as development efforts for the competitive structure and race format for the global supercross series.
Excel Sports Management Brings on New CFO
Sports agency Excel Sports Management has hired Rebecca Mahadeva as its chief financial officer. Prior to joining Excel, Mahadeva was the CFO of Greater Than One, a privately held agency focused on healthcare, which she joined in 2020. Mahadeva will be based in Excel’s New York office.
Matchday Aligns With FIFA and FIFPRO, and Alexia Putellas
The blockchain-based video gaming company Matchday has inked new partnerships with FIFA and FIFPRO (a global players’ union). The company has also signed Alexia Putellas, the first back-to-back Ballon d’Or Feminin and UEFA Women’s Player of the Year award winner, as its founding global ambassador, advisor and investor to elevate women’s football on Matchday, which now has 20 men and women football ambassadors globally, as well as multiple leagues. The multiyear partnership includes the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia / New Zealand 2023. As FIFPRO’s official blockchain partner, Matchday enables fans to own Matchday player cards that feature the official name, image and likeness of professional men’s and women’s football players.
NB G League Ignite Names MoneyLion as an Official Jersey Patch Partner
NBA G League Ignite and MoneyLion Inc. (NYSE:ML)—a one-stop destination for financial content, products and advice—announced a multiyear marketing partnership that makes MoneyLion the official money app of G League Ignite, as well as an official jersey patch partner. MoneyLion will have ticket giveaways to Ignite road games, exclusively for MoneyLion customers. Additionally, MoneyLion will create Ignite content available through the MoneyLion mobile app.
Richmond Flowers Joins With Range Sports as President of Football and Coaching
Range Media Partners has partnered with Richmond Flowers’ Collective Sports Advisors, establishing an elite football practice with significant growth plans. Flowers will become the president of football and coaching at Range Sports to lead the newly formed football division Range Collective, which will now serve as the umbrella company for all football verticals. The partnership will expand Range’s representation business and provide opportunities for Flowers’ existing football clients, including direct access to Range Media’s suite of services, including TV and film production and distribution, live event production and brand marketing and endorsements. Flowers’ clients at Collective Sports Advisors include NFL head coaches Mike McDaniel, Brandon Staley, Nathaniel Hackett and Robert Saleh.
SeatGeek and United Soccer League Connect
SeatGeek has created a new, long-term partnership that makes it a Preferred Ticketing Partner of the United Soccer League (USL). Under this agreement, five USL clubs have committed to use SeatGeek’s platform starting with the 2023 season: FC Tulsa, Detroit City FC, Lexington SC, Monterey Bay F.C., and Richmond Kickers. Five other USL clubs have preexisting partnerships with SeatGeek: Charleston Battery, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, Hartford Athletic, Louisville City FC and New Mexico United. SeatGeek also has a partnership with Major League Soccer and seven of its clubs, and it powers ticketing for half of the English Premier League’s clubs, including Liverpool, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Leicester City and Newcastle United.
Spalding Named the Official Basketball of OTE
Overtime Elite has signed a deal with Spalding, making it the official basketball of the pro basketball league for teenagers. OTE will use the indoor 29.5” TF Model M official leather indoor game basketball for practice and games, beginning this fall. The first official basketball produced by Spalding in 1894 carried the Model No. M name, which stood for “match play.” This ball later became the Top-Flite 100 leather basketball (TF), which paved the way for Spalding’s leather game balls adopted by professional leagues. MVP members can purchase the Spalding TF Model M official game ball on Spalding’s website.
NASCAR, QuintEvents Launch Experience for Chicago’s Street Race Weekend
NASCAR and QuintEvents—a provider of official ticket, hospitality and travel experiences for sports and entertainment events worldwide—announced the debut of “NASCAR Chicago Experiences.” The multiyear partnership between NASCAR and Quint will provide fans with experiences and viewing opportunities for NASCAR’s Chicago Street Race, such as driver meet-and-greets, pit lane walks and trophy photos.
First Fan-Owned Team Launches for SailGP
Bernoulli | Locke, a member-based community creating partnerships and experiences using Web3 structures, announced the launch of a SailGP fan-owned racing team across Bermuda and the Caribbean. Using a DAO structure and built on the NEAR Protocol, this team is expected to open new opportunities in sports ownership and fan engagement. The team’s territory combines the Caribbean and Bermuda, an internationally recognized sailing and business destination. Founded by Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts, SailGP is a global league for professional sailing teams racing in identical high-performance foiling 50-foot catamarans. This new team hopes to be the 10th team in the league and participate in Season 4, which begins June 17.
Anheuser-Busch Buys Major League Pickleball Team
Anheuser-Busch has purchased a Major League Pickleball (MLP) expansion team starting in the 2023 season. This agreement will give Anheuser-Busch a founding partnership with the larger MLP league and control over one of the league’s expansion teams—with ownership over everything from who the team drafts to which sponsors they bring on. Additionally, the partnership will extend to the DUPR rating, which is the most accurate and only global pickleball rating system across all recreational and pro players. Anheuser-Busch joins team owners including LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Kim Clijsters. In 2023, MLB will grow from 12 to 16 teams and increases player prize money and payouts to more than $2 million.