Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and products across the sports business industry.
SFIA Re-elects Board Chairman
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The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has re-elected Jonathan Ram, CEO of Clarks, Inc., as chairman of the board of directors for the 2023 term. In addition, Adam Franklin, president of Franklin Sports, and Richard Sullivan, president & CEO, Asics North America, were newly elected to the board, along with six board members who were re-elected, all for three-year terms. They join 11 remaining board members serving staggered terms. Ram was appointed to his current role with Clark’s in April 2022, after serving as the group president for Global Activewear with HanesBrands.
LPGA Taps Business and Operations Officer for Dev Tour
The LPGA has hired Jody Brothers as chief business and operations officer of the Epson Tour. Brothers brings a wealth of golf industry knowledge within the business development, strategic partnerships and tournament operations sectors, having served in various leadership roles with the PGA Tour since 2007. Brothers most recently served as VP of business development, and he will now lead the Epson Tour team in operating more than 20 events a year, building relationships with corporate and tournament partners, managing staff and developing talent for the LPGA Tour.
LPGA Foundation Elects Three New Members to Board of Directors
The LPGA Foundation, the tour’s 501(c)(3) charity arm, has elected three new board members for 2023: Miriam Hernandez-Kakol, Jose Tomás and Lynette Vanderwarker. Hernandez-Kakol is the former global head of KPMG’s management consulting practice; in that role, she worked with Fortune 100 executive teams to connect business needs to technology solutions and founded multiple businesses within the organization that drove revenue growth and penetrated new markets. Tomás joined Univision as their chief administrative officer in 2021, overseeing areas including human resources, corporate communications and DE&I and corporate safety. He most recently served as co-founder and managing partner of BrandSparc, a global communication, employment branding and human resources consultancy firm. Vanderwarker currently serves as a partner for Iron Park Capital, focusing specifically on capital formation. Prior to IPC, she was the chief strategy offer for Angel Island Capital, a portfolio company of Golden Gate Capital, from 2018 to 2021.
Four New Members Join Women’s Sports Foundation’s Board of Trustees
The Women’s Sports Foundation announced four new members will join the WSF’s Board of Trustees: Bread Financial’s Ralph Andretta, ESPN’s Rosetta Ellis-Pilie, Olympic gold medalist in water polo Brenda Villa and Nike’s Vanessa Wallace. They join a group of cross-sector professionals whose skills, perspectives and experiences will help the WSF in pursuing its goal of reaching gender equity in sport. Meghan Duggan, WSF president and Olympic and World Champion in ice hockey, has been elected to lead the foundation for another year.
Venue Content Distributor Names New Vice President of Marketing
Joe Hand Promotions, which provides live sports & entertainment for bars, restaurants and cinemas, named Josh Baird as vice president of marketing. Baird, who most recently served as director of digital content at Warner Brothers Discovery, will develop and lead a new marketing strategy for Joe Hand Promotions and its content providers, which include ESPN+, UFC, Showtime, DAZN, WWE, AEW, Top Rank and Barstool Sports. At Warner Brothers Discovery, Baird ran digital content operations and social/digital marketing for the Turner Networks (TBS, TNT, and truTV).
Patrick Mahomes Joining Kansas City Current Ownership Group
The Kansas City Current announced that Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes will join the club’s ownership group, becoming the first active NFL player to have equity in an NWSL team. Founded in December 2020, the NWSL team is led by the ownership group of Angie Long, Chris Long and Brittany Mahomes (Patrick’s wife). The Current announced plans for the first stadium purpose-built for a professional women’s soccer team with expected completion in 2024.
Tennis Star Coco Gauff Named Baker Tilly Brand Ambassador
Advisory CPA firm Baker Tilly US LLP announced Coco Gauff as its new brand ambassador. Gauff started the 2023 season by winning her third career WTA singles title at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. She reached the finals in singles and doubles of the French Open in 2022, and made it to the quarterfinals at both the French Open and the U.S. Open in 2021. At 18, she is the second youngest American player to reach a top-10 ranking and the second youngest player in history to earn WTA world No. 1 doubles ranking.
AC Milan Appoints New Commercial Director
AC Milan named Maikel Oettle commercial director of the Rossoneri. Through Oettle’s appointment and the creation of a renewed team structure under him, AC Milan introduces a new business-to-business model as it aims to extemd a period of growth off the pitch with major commercial agreements and renewals, including with long-standing partners PUMA and Emirates. Oettle has previous experience at bwin, a digital gaming company; Bundesliga International, the commercial division of Bundesliga; Draftkings, a leading American fantasy-sport operator; and IMG, a sports agency that is part of Endeavor.
Moelis & Company Hires New Managing Director in its Media Group
Investment bank Moelis & Company has hired Marcus Lollie as a managing director in its media group, based in Los Angeles. Lollie joins from the Canon Media Group, an operationally focused investment firm, where he developed and oversaw the media, entertainment and tech practice as a co-founder and managing partner. He previously spent nearly two decades in the private fund group at Credit Suisse and Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) where he focused on providing capital solutions to private equity and other alternative asset managers. In the past year, Moelis & Company has advised on the sale of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury and the acquisition of Chelsea F.C.
Meta’s Former Director of Sport Joins Greenfly As Advisor
Greenfly, the leader in real-time digital media management software, has brought on Peter Hutton, former director of sport at Meta, as an advisor. Hutton has held leadership roles in social media, broadcast and sports agencies. Starting out as a sports commentator, Hutton went on to become CEO of the biggest sports broadcasters in Europe, Asia and the Indian subcontinent and for the past five years has been in charge of leading Meta’s partnerships within the sports industry. As an advisor, Peter will help fuel Greenfly’s growth strategy and help facilitate relationships as the company continues to gain adoption across the sports and entertainment industry. Currently, more than 500 organizations—including the NBA, NHL and MLB—rely on Greenfly for real-time content collection and distribution.
Experience Kissimmee Hires Executive Director of Sports Commission
Jessica Beers joins the Kissimmee Sports Commission, a brand extension under Experience Kissimmee, as the executive director of sports. Prior to accepting her role with Experience Kissimmee, Beers was the director of partnerships/sponsorships for Brightline Trains Florida. She has also worked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Orlando City Soccer Club and Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. In her new role, Beers will oversee the administration and management of sports event services, sports events recruitment, business operations and partner relations. And she will be responsible for identifying and pursuing new strategic partnerships.
Morgan Stanley Partners With Hoophall Classic
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and Learfield have agreed to a partnership with Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment (GSE) in which Morgan Stanley will develop a tailored financial literacy program for participants in the Spalding Hoophall Classic high school showcase. Morgan Stanley will lead an in-person seminar for this year’s participants on Jan. 15, and, together with the Basketball Hall of Fame, honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., by paying tribute to his life and legacy across all five nationally televised (ESPN) Hoophall Classic games Jan. 16. The 21st Hoophall Classic boasts teams from 17 states and includes 39 total players in ESPN’s Top 100 from the Class of 2023 (34 boys and 5 girls).
MasterCraft Welcomes Wake Surfing Champion as Team Athlete
MasterCraft Boat Company has named six-time World Champion Wake Surfer Ashley Kidd as its newest brand ambassador. Kidd—the industry’s most accomplished female competitor—surfs with an aggressive style and attention-grabbing tricks. To celebrate the partnership, Kidd will embark on a four-stop boat show tour in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Dallas and Utah.
ClutchPoints and Overtime to Create Content for Overtime Elite
ClutchPoints and Overtime have formed a media partnership supporting the youth sports league Overtime Elite (OTE). The content-led partnership launched via ClutchPoints’ editorial platform, which houses a new hub dedicated to real-time coverage of Overtime Elite—similar to the way the media company covers other professional sports leagues—from on-site beat reporters. The partnership will also feature first-looks and exclusive content including player interviews, video and stories curated for OTE athletes.
USA Lacrosse Gains Formal Recognition From USOPC
USA Lacrosse has been named to the USOPC Affiliate Organizations Council, along with United States Muaythai Federation, USA Cricket, USA Federation for Sport Cheering and USA Kickboxing. These five new members will join the Recognized Sport Organizations category of the AOC, comprised of national organizations that administer a sport not currently on the Olympic or Paralympic program. These organizations are required to have an affiliation with an international federation that is recognized by the International Olympic Committee. The AOC’s mission is to support the Olympic and Paralympic movements by increasing interest in and national programming for sports participation through partnerships and collaboration.
Gaming Society, UNLV Collaborate to Advance Sports Betting Industry
Gaming Society, a betting education platform, and the International Gaming Institute (IGI), a nonprofit academic center at UNLV that offers research and educational programs for the global gaming industry, have joined to help shape the future of sports betting and gamification through industry data and insights. Gaming Society and IGI will conduct research to establish an understanding of women sports bettors, women’s sports fans’ attitudes about betting and betting motivations, as well as betting firms investing in sponsorship of women’s sports.
Premier Hockey Federation, Sailun Tire Announce Partnership Extension
The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) has inked a partnership extension with Sailun Tire. For the second straight season, Sailun Tire has activations during all PHF broadcasts and across social media platforms. The tire manufacturer has also been named presenting partner of the 2023 PHF All-Star Weekend, Jan. 28-29 in Toronto and is offering a PHF All-Star Experience with free tickets for one youth team in the Greater Toronto Area to attend the game on Jan. 29 at Mattamy Athletic Centre.
McLaren Racing Extends Apparel Partnership
McLaren Racing and Castore, its official team apparel and sportswear partner, have extened and expanded their multi-year partnership. Castore will continue to provide teamwear and merchandise for the McLaren Formula One Team for the 2023 season, while extending its support to all McLaren’s physical race series for 2024, which includes team apparel and fanwear for the Arrow McLaren IndyCar Team, NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team and the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team.
Paris Saint-Germain Inks GLobal Headwear License
Powerhouse soccer club Paris Saint-Germain, which plays in France’s Ligue 1, signed a multi-year global headwear license with Fan Ink, a Canadian-based headwear company. Fan Ink focuses on football clubs around the world and has club licenses with Athletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, FC Barcelona, Manchester City, Juventus and more.
1800 Tequila Announces New NFL Partnership with Jacksonville Jaguars.
1800 Tequila has partnered with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fans can find 1800 Tequila at TIAA Bank Field, where the Jaguars play their home games, this weekend and beyond. Five cocktails will be available on game day, including the hero cocktail 1800 “Pick-6” Paloma, at one of three in-stadium 1800 Tequila bars.
Teamworks Acquires Four Technologies
Teamworks, an enterprise SaaS company serving collegiate and professional sports organizations globally, has acquired four technologies: Smartabase, the human performance optimization platform for sports and military organizations; Retain, a collegiate academics and athlete development platform, inclusive of Pulse, an anonymous reporting and experience survey tool; and Grafted and NextPlay, collegiate athletic alumni engagement platforms that will be consolidated and rebranded to Teamworks Communities. Teamworks also revealed plans to build a collegiate compliance solution that will fully integrate into Teamworks’ operating system.
Brandon Marshall’s House of Athlete Launches Fitness App
House of Athlete (HOA), a wellness brand founded by Brandon Marshall, launched HOA+, a new fitness app designed to bring the elite athlete experience to the general consumer. Members receive exclusive access to expert coaching, daily classes developed by elite athletes, live one-on-one training and personalized communication. HOA was conceptualized and brought to life by six-time NFL Pro Bowler, Brandon Marshall, in 2019.
Fox Sports Unveils 4K Plans for NFL Playoffs
FOX Sports 2022 NFL Playoffs broadcast schedule will feature more games than any other network in the last 40 years, culminating with its 10th presentation of the Super Bowl. FOX will become the first network since the 1982-83 season to present two Wild Card Playoff Games, two NFC Divisional Playoff Games, the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl. The entire FOX NFL postseason will be produced in High Dynamic Range (HDR) at 1080p and broadcast in 4K. This is the first time every game of the NFL Playoffs and the Super Bowl will be broadcast in 4K by one network.
Online Lottery Ticket Platform Jackpot.com Launches in Texas
Jackpot.com, the online lottery ticket platform, launched in Texas with $42M in funding from professional sports franchises and marketing partnerships with the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. Jackpot.com’s logo will appear throughout AT&T Stadium, Toyota Center and AT&T Center. Jackpot.com also announced an additional $7 million in funding, which included the Cowboys, New York Yankees, Aurum Partners (owners of the San Francisco 49ers), the Tisch family (co-owners of the New York Giants), Detroit Venture Partners (run by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert), and BettorCapital.