Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry.
NBA Names Paramount+ Exec As Chief Marketing Officer
The NBA has named Tammy Henault as its next chief marketing officer. Henault, who is currently the senior vice president, marketing, streaming of Paramount+, will report to NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum, and she’ll start on Nov. 21, 2022. In her role, Henault will lead all global marketing efforts for the NBA and its affiliate leagues to engage fans and further the organization’s mission to inspire and connect people through basketball. Additionally, she will help drive the launch of the NBA’s Next Gen platform, working hand-in-hand with the product and content teams on the reimagined NBA App and NBA ID, the league’s new global membership program offering fans benefits and rewards.
The Famous Group Promotes Executive Producer to Partner
The Famous Group (TFG), a fan experience technology company based in Los Angeles, named Andrew Isaacson as partner, joining CEO Jon Slusser and chief innovation officer Greg Harvey as partners on the executive leadership team. In his role, Isaacson will continue to cultivate large scale partnerships with corporate and league clients. Isaacson, who joined TFG in 2001, has served as an executive producer, overseeing production for many live event organizations including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA and others. In 2019, he pioneered Mixed Reality technology with the Baltimore Ravens, Super Bowl LIV’s NFL 100 All-Time Team and most recently, produced the first-of-its-kind live commercial for Chipotle and the NHL.
IMG Appoints Robert Klein to Lead Global Football Media Business
IMG hired Robert Klein as managing director, head of global football for IMG Media. Klein, who will start in January, has served most recently as Bundesliga International CEO and brings more than 25 years’ experience. He was responsible for setting up the Deustsche Fusball Liga (DFL), Bundesliga International, in 2017 to market the international media rights to Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 matches across all platforms, as well as global licensing and sponsorship rights. He also built the league’s global communications and marketing teams to engage with fans and digital content partners worldwide. Prior to Bundesliga International, Klein ran global sports rights for Red Bull Media House.
Winners Alliance Brings on Marketing and Tech Entrepreneur
Sports marketing and tech entrepreneur Neeta Sreekanth has been named senior vice president, operations of Winners Alliance, the for-profit affiliate of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA)—global advocates on behalf of men’s and women’s professional tennis players. She will also serve a dual role as senior advisor to PTPA Executive Director and Winners Alliance CEO Ahmad Nassar, as the organization accelerates its growth to support operations and long-term development. Sreekanth joins Winners Alliance after three years at NIL tech platform INFLCR, most recently as the company’s first chief operating officer. Prior to INFLCR, Sreekanth spent time at ESPN, the Dallas Cowboys, and IGN Entertainment. As SVP, Sreekanth will oversee development of the Winners Alliance platform, company operations, scaling the business and advancing new initiatives to prioritize the interests of women’s and men’s tennis players.
SimWin Sports Brings on Non-Executive Director
SimWin Sports—a virtual sports league that lets daily fantasy players and esports fans watch, predict, collect, play and earn—has hired Jamie Shea, former VP of national marketing at DraftKings, as non-executive director. Shea, who also serves as CMO at Strive Gaming, brings nearly 30 years of sports betting experience to SimWin. She has previously worked at Hard Rock Hotel, Caesars Entertainment, Carniva and IGT. At SimWin, Shea’s role will cut across all disciplines, from gaming operations, marketing and sales to casinos, technology, fantasy sports and executive strategy.
U.S. Soccer Gets Hard Seltzer Sponsor
The U.S. Soccer Federation has signed a multi-year strategic partnership with Truly Hard Seltzer, making it the official hard seltzer of U.S. Soccer. The partnership will capitalize on women’s and men’s national team moments through integrated broadcast, digital and in-person activations that will provide supporters a new type of experience ahead of and during matches, while uniting fans on and off the field through shared culture, celebration, and sport. Truly will utilize national-team player appearances, exclusive co-branded giveaways, and activations across entertainment and culture. U.S. Soccer will play a major role in Truly’s national on-premise and off-premise activation strategy.
Baltimore Arena Lands Naming-Rights Deal
Oak View Group, the venue development, advisory and investment company, has inked an exclusive multi-year arena naming rights agreement with CFG Bank, the largest bank headquartered in Baltimore, for the city’s live entertainment and sports venue. The original arena is currently undergoing a $200-million renovation that will lead to the new 14,000-seat CFG Bank Arena, which is projected to open in February 2023 and host more than 120 major events annually. CFG Bank’s agreement includes prominent exterior and interior signage, exclusive benefits to CFG Bank clients, cardholders and team members, and the launch of a new community engagement program. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. This is the first stadium or arena sponsorship for CFG Bank.
Globant Partners With L.A. Clippers on Intuit Dome Tech
Globant has established a multi-year partnership with the Los Angeles Clippers to help integrate the digital road map for Intuit Dome, the team’s new home opening in Inglewood, Calif., in 2024. As the digital transformation partner of the Clippers, Globant will create technology connections for fans at the venue. Earlier this month, Globant announced an agreement with FIFA to become the Global Platform Supporter of FIFA+ and a supporter and sponsor of its flagship events.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard, Stifel Announce New Partnership
U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced an official partnership with Stifel Financial, a leading wealth management and investment banking company. Under terms of the agreement, the U.S. Alpine Ski Team will be renamed the Stifel U.S. Alpine Team, which includes decorated athletes such as three-time Olympic medalist Mikaela Shiffrin, 2022 Olympic silver medalist Ryan Cochran-Siegle and eight-time FIS World Cup podium finisher Breezy Johnson. In addition, U.S. Ski & Snowboard and Stifel will collaborate on a career and financial education program, designed to help athletes with savings and investing strategy. This is the first alpine partnership for U.S. Ski & Snowboard that encompasses all elite levels of competition in North America, including World Cup, NorAms and National Championships, and will be kicking off a season with the most domestic alpine World Cups in history. Stifel will serve as the title sponsor of the men’s FIS Alpine Ski World Cup event in Palisades Tahoe, Calif., and as a sponsor of the additional men’s FIS Alpine Ski World Cup events in Beaver Creek, Colo., and Aspen, Colo., as well as the women’s FIS Alpine Ski World Cup event in Killington, Vt.
Drone Racing League and PointsKash Partner on Rewards Program
The Drone Racing League (DRL) and PointsKash, a blockchain-enabled platform that lets users aggregate, convert and spend loyalty points, have combined for a loyalty-rewards partnership to elevate DRL fandom globally. The five-year deal includes an unveiling of the DRL Flight Club, the first program for DRL fans to collect rewards on PointsKash, as well as branded integrations in DRL events, gaming products, and content starting during the 2022-23 DRL Algorand World Championship Season. It will enable fans to redeem PointsKash points for DRL live event access, limited edition apparel, and extra plus-ups within the DRL SIM video game, Drone Racing Arcade mobile game, and upcoming Fly-to-Own NFT drone racing game.
West Ham Brings on Little Dot Sport for YouTube Partnership
The West Ham United football club and Little Dot Sport, a digital content agency and media network, have signed a three-year contract to work together on social media and digital content—specifically, the club’s YouTube channel. Little Dot Sport will complement West Ham’s in-house capabilities with its digital expertise, bringing more content from the men’s, women’s and youth teams directly to Hammers’ fans. The collaboration highlights West Ham’s strategy to grow its social presence and increase engagement with its loyal community, with Little Dot Sport providingchannel management and optimization.
Sports Info Solutions Named Official Data Provider for Premier Rugby Sevens
Sports Info Solutions (SIS), a sports data and analytics provider, has partnered with Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s). As the league’s first official data provider, SIS will collect, distribute and develop raw analytical and betting data, starting with the 2023 PR7s season. Aimed to grow the sport of rugby through sports betting and increased fan engagement, SIS was also granted non-exclusive distribution rights of the data for media entities. The parties will collaborate on further commercial opportunities to position the league for North American expansion and continued growth for both the men’s and women’s competitions. In collaboration with third-party operators and those offering wagering on PR7s’ events, SIS will support Premier Rugby Sevens’ integrity and social responsibility efforts, including bet types, anti-piracy and problem gambling.
Logitix Becomes First U.S.-Based Partner With StubHub International
Logitix, a live-event ticketing technology and analytics company, has become the first U.S.-based ticket-distribution partner for StubHub International. As a result, customers outside of North America will be able to buy tickets to events happening in the United States and Canada. It will also mark the first time U.S. ticket sellers will have access to automated distribution solutions for international events. Effective immediately, ticket sellers across the U.S. who partner with Logitix will have a new distribution channel through StubHub International. Logitix manages millions of tickets across the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, college sports and live event properties.
MSP Sports Capital Acquires X Games, Inks CEO and Tony Hawk
MSP Sports Capital has acquired a majority interest in X Games from ESPN Productions. It’s MSP’s sixth investment, joining stakes in McLaren Racing Limited and a global soccer consortium. ESPN Productions will retain a minority, non-controlling position and will serve as the domestic linear broadcast partner as part of a multi-year agreement finalized in conjunction with the transaction. MSP will assume day-to-day operational control of the X Games business, and Steven Flisler will serve as CEO. Flisler recently served as VP of original content at Twitch and executive producer of Twitch Rivals since 2018 and previously held leadership positions across NBCUniversal. Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk will also join the X Games investor group as a brand steward.
QuintEvents Acquires Monaco Star Events
QuintEvents—the provider of ticket, hospitality and travel experiences to sports and entertainment events—has acquired Monaco Star Events. Monaco Star Events has established itself as one of the leaders in corporate hospitality, event management and logistics for some of Europe’s top sporting brands, such as Monaco F1 Grand Prix, Monaco Historic Grand Prix and Formula-E Monaco. The brand’s range of services includes premium race viewing, VIP hospitality, turnkey all-inclusive travel packages, private hospitality solutions, accommodations, event production and logistics. Monaco Star Events owner Shane Heminway will stay in Monaco as part of the QuintEvents team.
Western Ultimate League Adds Colorado Franchise
The Western Ultimate League (WUL) has expanded to include a new franchise, the Colorado Alpenglow. This is the first professional women’s ultimate team in the state of Colorado, and it’s one of eight professional women’s ultimate teams across the western United States. The Alpenglow will hold tryouts in the next few months and plans to announce the roster early next year, in time for the 2023 WUL season, which will run from March to May. The WUL’s mission is to advance both visibility and equity within the sport of ultimate and to provide a way for all women and non-binary athletes to compete on a stage that showcases high-level, competitive ultimate.