May 2021 staff moves and sports business industry news in one spot — updated as they happen, so make sure you check back regularly.
May 3, 2021
Danish sports betting media group Better Collective acquires The Action Network. With the agreement, Better Collective receives 100 percent of the shares in Action Network, Inc. for $240 million on a cash and debt free basis. The Action Network will continue to operate under its own brand, and the content and product offerings won’t change.
Northwestern University elevates Mike Polisky to Combe Family VP for Athletics (Athletic Director), from Deputy Athletic Director, External Affairs. He replaces Jim Phillips, who left in Feb after 13 years in Evanston to become the ACC‘s next Commissioner. Search firm DHR International assists.
UPDATE: Following protests from some students and faculty about Polisky’s role in an ongoing sexual harassment lawsuit, Polisky resigns his new position on May 12, 2021, with Northwestern’s President Morton Schapiro naming linguistics professor Robert Gundlach interim athletic director until a new, permanent athletic director is selected. Gundlach is Northwestern’s faculty athletics representative to the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference. He also has served on numerous NCAA committees and working committees.
NFL tabs Katie Hill as the league’s new SVP, Communications. Most recently she worked for former President Barack Obama‘s family office, where she served as President Obama’s Communications Director for the last four years.
May 4, 2021
- Jim, Graham & Kirk Allen
- Bela Bajaria
- Nick Coleman
- Josh Dixon
- Channing Dungey & Scott Power
- Aimee Garcia
- Devin Johnson & daughter Carys
- Ken Kaufman
- Keli Lee
- Jon Moonves
- Kim Vender Moffat, Stephen Moffat & Todd Vender
May 6, 2021
Caesars Entertainment partners with the Arizona Diamondbacks to launch mobile sports betting in Ariz. and build a sportsbook and bar on the plaza adjacent to the team’s ballpark, Chase Field. The deal simultaneously grants Caesars mobile sports betting market access and exclusive sponsorship in sports betting and daily fantasy sports for the D-backs. In addition, Caesars also finalizes a multi-year agreement with Major League Baseball to become an MLB Authorized Gaming Operator.
May 10, 2021
Priestner Sports Corporation acquires National Lacrosse League franchise Saskatchewan Rush from owner Bruce Urban. Priestner Sports, led by Mike Priestner, the owner of Go Auto, as well as the owner of the Western Hockey League‘s Saskatoon Blades, will take over the club effective immediately, solidifying the Rush’s position in Saskatoon for the long term. Colin Priestner will act as the team’s NLL Governor while continuing his role as the GM/President of the Blades, while Jared Priestner will serve as NLL Alternate Governor. All lacrosse operations will continue to be run by current Rush GM Derek Keenan.
The National Women’s Hockey League Board of Governors approves the sale and transfer of ownership of the Connecticut Whale Hockey Club by league operator W Hockey Partners to Shared Hockey Enterprises (SHE), LLC owned by Tobin Kelly and his investment partners. The transaction leaves three NWHL teams owned and operated by WHP: the Buffalo Beauts, Metropolitan Riveters and Minnesota Whitecaps.
May 11, 2021
Toronto Rock and Core Entertainment (Spectra) reach a 5-year agreement, plus a team option for a multi-year extension, to relocate Rock home games to Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre (opened Nov 30, 1985; capacity: 17,383) beginning with the 2021-22 season. The team had played home games at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), since 2001.
May 12, 2021
Milwaukee Bucks and SC Johnson announce “a partnership to advance their commitments toward a more sustainable and healthier world by implementing new recycling and cleaning initiatives at Fiserv Forum.” SC Johnson is designated an Official Sustainability Partner of the Bucks as well as Official Disinfectant & Commercial Cleaning Partner. Beginning with the 2021-22 Bucks season, Fiserv Forum and Deer District will use new co-branded Bucks/SC Johnson polyethylene terephthalate (PET) cups for all of its events, an expected 1 million plus cups annually. After the PET cups are recycled at the venue, SC Johnson will then turn them into 100% post-consumer recycled bottles for its Scrubbing Bubbles brand bottles. As the Official Disinfectant & Commercial Cleaning Partner, SC Johnson will provide improved product and training to Fiserv Forum staff to ensure the arena remains properly cleaned and disinfected as it welcomes back fans for Bucks games, concerts and other events.
Following a two-year rebranding effort, worked on in partnership with Mission Media, the organization formerly known as US Lacrosse rolls out a complete rebrand with a new name, new logo, new branding and new messaging. and will now be known as USA Lacrosse.
May 19, 2021
Deloitte and the LA28 Olympic & Paralympic Games announce a seven-year sponsorship, making Deloitte the Official Professional Services Provider of the LA28 Olympic & Paralympic Games. As part of this agreement, Deloitte also continues as an official sponsor of Team USA through 2028.
May 20, 2021
Chicago Fire FC names Ishwara Glassman Chrein as the team’s new President. Previously, Glassman Chrein was Head, Sports Partnerships & Business Development at Yahoo Sports / Verizon Media. She and Sporting Director Georg Heitz will both report directly to Club Owner & Chair Joe Mansueto. Previous President Nelson Rodriguez stepped down in Jan.
IndyCar and NTT extend their series entitlement partnership that first began in 2019, with NTT continuing on as Official Technology Partner for IndyCar, the NTT IndyCar Series, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 as well as the NASCAR Brickyard Weekend festivities held at IMS.
May 21, 2021
Motorola and the Bucks announce a multi-year partnership that will bring the Motorola “batwing” logo to the left shoulder of all Bucks jerseys, beginning with the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Motorola also joins the list of Bucks and Fiserv Forum Founding Partners and also becomes the team’s Official Mobile Smartphone Partner. In addition, Motorola will have its branding on Bucks practice jerseys, a first for the team’s jersey patch partner, and will be part of in-arena replays and digital displays at Fiserv Forum. Motorola and the Bucks will also be able to market their partnership internationally as part of the NBA’s International Team Marketing Program. Plus, in conjunction with the Milwaukee Bucks Foundation, they will also collaborate on a community initiative with a focus on STEM education and advancement. This marks Moto’s third NBA jersey patch deal along with the Brooklyn Nets (Dec 10, 2020) and Indiana Pacers (Dec 18, 2018).
May 25, 2021
LPGA Board of Directors tabs Mollie Marcoux Samaan, as its ninth Commissioner with an exact start date TBA. Marcoux Samaan has been Princeton University‘s Athletic Director since 2014. She replaces Mike Whan, who announced his departure in Jan and will become the USGA‘s new Exec Director. Spencer Stuart assisted the LPGA on the search.
May 26, 2021
NWHL announces that the Metropolitan Riveters Hockey Club will undergo a sale and transfer of ownership from W Hockey Partners to BTM Partners. BTM’s John Boynton will serve as the club’s Chair. The transaction leaves two of the six NWHL teams owned and operated by W Hockey Partners: the Buffalo Beauts and Minnesota Whitecaps.
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Header photo via SC Johnson Updated: May 28, 2021