Oct 2020 staff moves and industry news in one spot — updated as they happen, so make sure you check back throughout the month.
Have news to share or an announcement we should include? Click HERE to email us.
Khalia Collier joins St. Louis City SC as VP, Community Relations, from Commissioner, Global Women’s Basketball Association (GWBA).
Peter Freund and his company, Trinity Sports Consultants, have been hired by Major League Baseball (MLB) to work with MLB and the owners of MLB’s licensed affiliates as Minor League Baseball’s offices transition to New York City. In his role, Freund “will work with the Office of the Commissioner to help develop the framework for a more cohesive and efficient model for the development of players in all the MLB licensed markets around the country.”
Dan Mason joins sports tech venture capital company SeventySix Capital as a Venture Partner and Strategic Advisor. Mason will focus his efforts across SeventySIx Capital’s venture capital funds, Sports Advisory practice and media opportunities. The former President & CEO of CBS Radio, prior to his retirement in 2015, is currently Chair of SeventySix Capital’s portfolio company, VSiN.
Matt Sebek joins St. Louis City SC as Chief Experience Officer (CXO), the first CXO position in Major League Soccer; from World Wide Technology.
Angel City FC adds three staff:
- Catherine Dávila named Head, Community. The co-founder of LA Villa FC, the largest amateur women’s soccer club in Calif., will drive the team’s relationship with the Angel City community, including working directly with all supporter groups and affinity organizations. She is also tasked with building a strong relationship with Southern Calif.’s youth and adult soccer clubs and clinics and leading all Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, including working with the team’s social impact partner LA84.
- Kim McCauley becomes Director, Recruitment & Analytics. McCauley joins from VOX Media to build player analysis models and databases to help coaches assemble the team’s inaugural squad.
- Jess Smith is tabbed Head, Corporate Partnerships, from VP, Sponsorship, San Jose Earthquakes.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announce the first NBA Foundation Board of Directors, comprised of eight representatives from the NBA Board of Governors, players and executives from the NBPA and the league office “to provide strategic direction with respect to programming and grantmaking as well as oversee the organization’s activities, working directly with all 30 NBA teams and their governors to support and facilitate sustainable initiatives in team markets.” The inaugural board members are:
- Harrison Barnes, player, Sacramento Kings
- Gayle Benson, Governor, New Orleans Pelicans
- Tobias Harris, player, Philadelphia 76ers
- Michael Jordan, Chair, Charlotte Hornets
- Tony Ressler, Principal Owner, Atlanta Hawks
- Michele Roberts, Executive Director, NBPA (ex-officio)
- Adam Silver, Commissioner, NBA
- Larry Tanenbaum, Chair, NBA Board of Governors & Governor, Toronto Raptors (ex-officio)
Additionally, members of the NBA league office will serve as NBA Foundation officers, managing day-to-day activities and operations. (A search for an Executive Director for the Foundation is underway.) The officers:
- Mark Tatum (NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO) named NBA Foundation President, Social Responsibility
- Kathy Behrens (President, Player Programs) named VP
- Matthew Carpenter-Dennis (Sr. Assoc. Counsel) named Secretary
- Heidi Nadler (Global Head, League Finance) named Treasurer
The NWHL announces it has adopted a “new governance model” with founder Dani Rylan Kearney stepping down as Commissioner and Tyler Tumminia, Chair of the expansion Toronto Six, named Interim Commissioner. Rylan Kearney will continue as President of the original ownership group overseeing operations and the process of establishing independent ownership of the group’s four remaining teams.
BRANDS, LEAGUES, MEDIA, PROPERTIES, RETAILERS, TEAMS & VENUES
Oct 1, 2020
Academy Sports + Outdoors announces the pricing of its initial public offering (IPO) of 15,625,000 shares of its common stock at $13.00 per share. Shares of Academy’s common stock are to begin trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market on Oct 2, 2020, under the ticker symbol “ASO,” and the offering is expected to close Oct 6, 2020, subject to customary closing conditions.
Oct 6, 2020
New York Islanders, UBS Arena and Oak View Group announce an expanded partnership with Northwell Health in a 10-year “founding sponsorship” deal. As part of the partnership, the parties will co-develop community-based wellness programming focused on the “key pillars of health, nutrition and physical activity.” In addition, Oak View is working with Northwell on “top-of-the-line sanitization efforts from medical grade HEPA filtration, to UV light systems, and disinfecting solutions that have proven safe and effective in large-scale public spaces” to put fans at ease in their return to sports, post-coronavirus.
Verizon, the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center announce a new multi-year partnership, that makes Verizon the “Exclusive 5G and Wireless Partner” for both team and venue. Verizon “will bring 5G innovation to Prudential Center and Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center,” which becomes the first indoor arena equipped with 5G technology in N.J.
Oct 12, 2020
The NBA and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) announce a multiyear partnership that makes ServiceNow their inaugural Official Workflow Partner. Using digital workflows, ServiceNow helped the league facilitate screening for more than 2,600 league staff, vendors and guests who entered the NBA and WNBA restart campuses in Fla.
Oct 13, 2020
Academy Sports + Outdoors announces a multi-year partnership with the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) as “Official Sporting Goods & Outdoor Retailer of the SIAC.”
Oct 14, 2020
RB, the makers of Lysol, and MLB announce “a new multi-year partnership to help reinforce and promote healthy habits and disinfection protocols for the league’s players, staff, and fans.” The partnership’s three areas of focus are:
- Disinfecting Protocols, Best Practices and Germ-Kill Expertise
- Lysol Professional Solutions
- Community & Outreach Initiatives
Oct 16, 2020
Hyperice and MLB announce the two sides “will work together with Club medical, athletic training, and strength and conditioning professionals to prioritize player health and athlete longevity leaguewide. Hyperice next-generation products and technologies will now be immediately available for use during games, in the dugout and bullpen to optimize player performance, improve mobility and speed up recovery.” Hyperice adds recognition as MLB’s Official Recovery Technology Partner. As part of the partnership, Hyperice adds San Diego Padres SS Fernando Tatis, Jr. as the company’s first MLB investor/brand ambassador.
Oct 19, 2020
The PGA Tour and Astros Golf Foundation announce a partnership with Vivint Smart Home to sponsor the Houston Open in a one-year deal. The Vivint Houston Open will be played Nov 5-8, 2020, at Houston’s Memorial Park Golf Course.
Oct 20, 2020
Joovv and the San Francisco 49ers announce the first partnership between a professional sports franchise and a light therapy brand. Joov becomes the official light therapy partner of the 49ers, with a Joovv Recovery Room built adjacent to the team’s locker room at Levi’s Stadium. Players have access to a dedicated light therapy room for recovery immediately after games or practices.
Rawlings and Easton Diamond Sports, LLC, announce that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Rawlings to acquire Easton. Until close, Rawlings and Easton will remain separate companies and continue to operate independently. Existing shareholders of Peak Achievement Athletics Inc., the parent of Easton, will continue to participate as minority owners in the combined organization.
Academy Sports + Outdoors announces multi-year partnerships with both the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) (as “Official Sporting Goods and Outdoor Retailer of the CIAA and its fans“) and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) (as “Official Sporting Goods and Outdoor Retailer of the MEAC,” brokered by Collegiate Sports Management Group (CSMG), which represents the MEAC for media and marketing partnerships).
Oct 21, 2020
- ACFC has been formally accepted as the league’s 11th expansion club to begin play with the 2022 season;
- The team’s name will remain Angel City Football Club; and
- In addition, ACFC ownership welcomes another group of founding investors including:
- Billie Jean King
- Candace Parker (and her daughter Lailaa)
- Lindsey Vonn
- PK Subban
- Becky G (Latin pop star)
- Sophia Bush (actress & activist)
- James Corden (actor and late night talk show host)
- Cobi Jones (MLS/USMNT star & sports broadcaster)
- Ryan Kalil (NFL 5X Pro Bowl)
- Ben Grossman (MLS Minnesota Loons minority owner and private investor)
Oct 22, 2020
Ball Corporation and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) announce a global partnership with three KSE venues in Denver, Los Angeles and London. The partnership is “founded on a shared vision to advance sustainability in sports and entertainment by strengthening in-venue aluminum recycling, providing fans with a more environmentally friendly fan experience and showcasing aluminum beverage packaging as the most sustainable choice.” A central focus is Ball’s “infinitely recyclable” Ball Aluminum Cup. The Ball/KSE partnership involves:
- NBA Denver Nuggets, NHL Colorado Avalanche and NLL Colorado Mammoth — naming rights: former Pepsi Arena in Denver, Colo., becomes Ball Arena; Official and Exclusive Sustainability Partner
- NFL Los Angeles Rams and their new home, SoFi Stadium — Official Infinitely Recyclable Aluminum Packaging Partner (for both SoFi Stadium and the Rams)
- EPL Arsenal FC and London’s Emirates Stadium — Official Sustainable Aluminum Beverage Packaging Partner
Oct 23, 2020
The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball announces the Texas AirHogs “have terminated their membership in the league effective immediately” with the league noting that they “anticipate announcing future expansion in Texas in 2021.” The AirHogs have not issued any further clarification on their 2021 plans.
Oct 28, 2020
The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies (LHM Group), and the Miller family, owners of the Utah Jazz, enter into definitive agreements to sell a majority interest in their sports and entertainment properties to Ryan Smith, co-founder of Utah-based Qualtrics. Included in the pending transaction are the Jazz, Vivint Arena, NBA G League Salt Lake City Stars and management of the PCL Salt Lake Bees. (LHM Group will continue to own the Bees.) Reports peg the value of the Jazz sale at $1.66 billion.
Oct 30, 2020
MLB owners approve the proposed sale of the New York Mets to Steve Cohen during a conference call of all MLB clubs. The approval is contingent upon the closing of the sale transaction with current owners Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and Jeff Wilpon, which MLB indicates is expected within the next 10 days.
To view past ROSTER MOVES, click here.