Sportico Transactions: Moves and Mergers Roundup for November 17

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


Manchester United Announces New Interim CEO

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Manchester United (NYSE: MANU), announced that Richard Arnold has decided to step down as chief executive officer after 16 years with the club. Patrick Stewart will take over as interim CEO, in addition to his existing role as general counsel, with Richard continuing to provide transitional support until the end of December. A search process will be carried out for a new permanent CEO.

Chelsea Appoints New Chief Revenue Officer

Chelsea Football Club has appointed Casper Stylsvig as chief revenue officer. Stylsvig joins Chelsea having held the same role at AC Milan since 2019. In his time at Milan he oversaw the club’s commercial transformation and return to profitability. Prior to AC Milan, Stylsvig spent three years at Fulham as chief revenue officer, and eight years as Manchester United’s global sponsorship director, having started his career in football at FC Barcelona.

Legends Launches New College Division Led by Mike Behan 

Legends, a premium experiences company, has launched Legends College, a new business unit that will provide the company’s integrated service solution to support universities, collegiate organizations and events. Mike Behan has been appointed as president, Legends College, and will oversee the development and implementation of Legends’ services in the collegiate industry. Legends College will provide services including research, project development, premium ticket sales, sponsorships, food and beverage, merchandise, business intelligence, marketing and philanthropic fundraising and engagement. Behan joined Legends in October 2011 as vice president, collegiate partnerships and was promoted to COO, collegiate partnerships in June 2021.

Superplastic Hires Former NBA and Dapper Exec Jennifer van Dijk as CEO

Superplastic, the creator of the world’s first social-media-driven animated character universe, has hired Jennifer van Dijk as chief executive officer and Brian Scotto as chief creative officer. The new executives were brought on to build upon Superplastic’s success and invest in new technologies, including AI, to share content across social platforms and reach new audiences. Van Dijk and Scotto previously worked together at Hoonigan, the automotive media, lifestyle and apparel company. While in her CEO role at Hoonigan, van Dijk oversaw a successful merger with global automotive aftermarket giant Wheel Pros, and managed the team integration across marketing for all 40+ brands. Prior to this, van Dijk held C-Suite and executive-level positions with the LA Clippers, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Dapper Labs.


FC Porto and Legends Announce 15-Year Partnership

FC Porto and global premium experiences company Legends announced a 15-year strategic partnership focused on transforming the fan experience. The partnership aims to drive long-term success for FC Porto, leveraging Legends’ service solutions. Legends will support the food and beverage experience at Estádio do Dragão, and collaborate with FC Porto to explore opportunities to improve the overall fan experience at the stadium and enhance commercial opportunities for the club. As part of the partnership, Legends will oversee global partnerships for the club as well as naming rights and sponsorship assets for Estádio do Dragão. FC Porto and Legends will evaluate new opportunities to deliver a premier matchday experience for fans. Legends will utilize its hospitality expertise to reimagine the culinary and beverage experience at the stadium, namely in FC Porto Partner’s Club VIP boxes and seats.

Sacramento Kings and Sacramento International Airport Announce Partnership 

The Sacramento Kings and Sacramento International Airport (SMF) announced one of the first formal partnerships between a U.S. airport and an NBA franchise. Over the next three seasons, SMF will serve as the official airport partner of the Sacramento Kings, with the partnership offering game-day activations, social media content and community-driven programs within the airport premises, Golden 1 Center and throughout the Sacramento region.

Nexen Tire Named Official Partner of the New York Rangers

Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. (NYSE: MSGS) has a marketing partnership with Nexen Tire, naming the tire manufacturer an Official Partner of the New York Rangers. Through the partnership, Nexen Tire will receive brand promotion during Rangers games at Madison Square Garden, including digital dasherboard signage, virtual blue line signage and ribbon LED signage. Nexen Tire will also receive exposure on the digital boards outside of Madison Square Garden. In addition, Nexen Tire will be the presenting partner on select Rangers social media posts, including “Road Game Player Arrivals,” in which the brand’s logo will appear in photos posted to the Rangers digital accounts.

LaLiga North America and Panini America Renew Partnership in U.S. Gaming Challenge

LaLiga North America has renewed its partnership with Panini America, celebrating the fourth edition of the U.S. gaming tournament on EA Sports FC 24 presented by Panini. With the partnership, thousands of gamers will have the opportunity to play against celebrities, earn collectibles and win prizes. LaLiga North America, a joint venture between LaLiga and Relevent Sports, is committed to esports as a tool for audience growth in the United States. In its fourth year, the U.S. gaming challenge presented by Panini brings together the collectibles brand, its variety of products, including its trading cards, NFT Blockchain platform and merchandise with the Spanish soccer league.

Bodyarmor Flash I.V. to Be Official Sports Drink of Las Vegas Grand Prix

Bodyarmor Flash I.V. will be the official sports drink of the Las Vegas Grand Prix at this week’s Formula 1 event. As part of the agreement, Bodyarmor Flash I.V. will hydrate F1 drivers throughout the weekend, while fans will encounter Flash I.V. branding on-track, at the Paddock Club and on the Sphere. The agreement further increases the visibility of Bodyarmor and builds upon its existing foundation and investment within the larger racing community. The drink has been partners with 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Ryan Blaney and Team Penske since 2017.

Detroit Pistons Announce Partnership With Menswear Brand Todd Patrick

The Detroit Pistons have collaborated with Michigan native and designer Desyree Nicole, the creative director behind the luxury menswear brand Todd Patrick. The collection will be available for purchase exclusively on Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena as a part of an experiential pop-up shop and photo opportunity on the concourse. The collection includes two T-shirts, a hoodie, a workman jacket, a pair of athletic pants and athletic shorts. While maintaining the design and feel of traditional Todd Patrick items, the products have been priced to be more accessible for fans, ranging from $50-$150.

Pro League Network Names BrinxTV as Official Free-To-Play Platform

Pro League Network, a sports entertainment company producing bettable sports, named BrinxTV as its official Free-To-Play Platform. As part of the deal, BrinxTV joins PLN as an investor. BrinxTV will offer sports-betting-like questions and create bettable moments for viewers to earn Brinx Bux during its broadcasts of PLN sports, including World Putting League, CarJitsu Championship and Pro Carrom Tour. Expanding on the partnership, BrinxTV and PLN will jointly produce live made-for-wagering sporting events exclusive to the Brinx.TV platform and additional shoulder programming focused on PLN sports.

FC Porto and Legends Announce 15-Year Strategic Partnership 

FC Porto and premium experiences company Legends have reached a 15-year strategic partnership. Legends will support global partnerships, the food and beverage experience at Estádio do Dragão, and collaborate with FC Porto to explore opportunities to improve the overall fan experience at the stadium and enhance commercial opportunities for the club. As part of the partnership, Legends will oversee global partnerships for the club as well as naming rights and sponsorship assets for Estádio do Dragão. Legends will utilize its hospitality expertise to reimagine the culinary and beverage experience at the stadium, namely in FC Porto Partner’s Club VIP boxes and seats.

Minnesota Twins, Lee Health Announce 10-Year Partnership, Plus Complex Naming Rights

The Minnesota Twins and Lee Health announced a 10-year partnership that designates Lee Health as the Twins’ official Florida healthcare provider and renames the club’s Fort Myers facilities as the Lee Health Sports Complex. The Twins and Lee Health will also continue their longstanding practice of providing free health clinics and other community-enriching opportunities. The Twins and the club’s six minor league affiliates have called the Lee Health Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Fla., their spring training home since 1991. Additionally, Lee Health Sports Complex is the year-round home of the Twins Player Development Academy, the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (Minnesota’s Low-A affiliate) and the organization’s rookie-level Florida Complex League Twins.


AC Milan Announces First AC Milan Academy in U.S. 

AC Milan, in partnership with Black&Red Pumas LLC, announced AC Milan Academy Virginia, the first Rossoneri Academy project in the United States. It will officially open in spring 2024 in Fairfax, Va., and the Washington metropolitan area (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia). The training program will directly involve boys and girls from 5 to 17 years old in a technical program. A team of sporting professionals who are specialists in the AC Milan method will coordinate with and train the local technical staff. The project is expected to kick off in December with a five-day camp ahead of the official spring opening of the academy, with the club planning to further develop the project in North America in the future.

Man United Women’s Soccer Captain Launches Training App for Players

Ultrain Sports has launched a new app to bring soccer teams and players closer to their favorite players. Founded by actor Darrius Marcellin and pro soccer player Katie Zelem, the captain of Manchester United and a member of England’s 2023 World Cup squad, the Ultrain Sports mobile app was created to give youth soccer players exclusive access to their favorite pros from around the world. Exclusive content is shared directly from top men’s and women’s players, while young players and teams tune in for live Q+A sessions to learn their top tips. Ultrain also acts as a software hub for coaches to manage their teams in one interface.

AVP Announces Professional Beach Volleyball League

The AVP, a U.S. pro beach volleyball league, has announced an expansion and evolution with the creation of the AVP League, a professional beach volleyball league. The AVP League will feature eight teams with equality for both men and women in competition and compensation. Beginning in September 2024, shortly after the 2024 Summer Olympics, the AVP League will launch with eight founding teams playing head-to-head in a regular season spanning September through November. Each team will be based in a home market—including Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Brooklyn, Miami, Palm Beach, Dallas and Austin—and have one starting men’s team and one starting women’s team. The top overall teams will then participate in an end-of-season playoff tournament and championship match. Prior to the inaugural 2024 season, there will be a player draft in Manhattan Beach.


Andre Iguodala’s Mosaic Leads $9.4M Series A investment in Allcity Network

Allcity announced that Mosaic General Partnership, the fund Andre Iguodala is managing, is leading its Series A, a round that is now at $9.4 million. The capital raised in this round will be used to double the size of the company from three networks to six, launch 24-hour FAST channels in each city, and hire local and national revenue leaders. The lead investor and participating investors show that the industry is behind this from the league level. Investors include Nancy and Matty Tellem, Tim Connelly, Sean Marks, Laura Desmond, Andy Miller and Chauncy Billups.

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