Sep 2021 staff moves and sports business industry news in one spot — updated as they happen, so make sure you check back regularly.


Sep 1, 2021

Excel Sports Management acquires Chicago-based data insights and partnership valuation company, Block Six Analytics. Tuck Burch, Excel’s Head, Brand Marketing, will oversee the expanded business intelligence unit. Block Six founder Adam Grossman joins Excel as VP, Business Insights & Analytics, while B6A COO Gabe Ottolini becomes VP, Business Intelligence.


Big Sky Conference announces a multi-year partnership with US Integrity, to monitor match-fixing, game manipulation and other unethical or illegal betting-related activity.


Planet Fitness names Publicis Groupe‘s newly formed unit, Team Lift, as its new agency of record after a review. Advisory firm MediaLink, an Ascential company, oversaw the RFP process.




Sep 2, 2021

Notre Dame Global Partnerships, the joint venture between Legends Global Partnerships and JMI Sports, announces a new multiyear “Championship-level” partnership with Credit Union 1 to become the Official Banking Partner of Notre Dame Athletics. Credit Union 1 will provide exclusive services and banking for all University of Notre Dame students, faculty, alumni and fans through the new “Fighting Irish Program” that includes the Notre Dame Affinity Debit Card, Shamrock High Yield Savings Account, discounts at Notre Dame bookstores, a $1,000 mortgage closing credit and waiving annual fees on a CU1 HELOC.


Dewalt announces the company will make its college football sponsorship debut with the 2021 season, partnering with 25 schools across five conferences. The sponsorships were secured by Learfield in partnership with Dragon Seats, a manufacturer of heated and cooling sideline benches. Dewalt tools are being exclusively used by Dragon Seats for the necessary installation of the team benches, which prominently display both the school brand and Dewalt brand when assembled. The schools, listed by conference:

ACC Big Ten
Boston College Indiana University
Florida State University Northwestern University
NC State University Ohio State University
University of Louisville Penn State University
Purdue University
Big 12 University of Iowa
Baylor University University of Minnesota
Iowa State University University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kansas State University
Texas Tech University Mountain West
University of Kansas Boise State University
University of Oklahoma
University of Texas at Austin Pac-12
West Virginia University University of California-Berkeley
University of Colorado
University of Utah
University of Washington



Sep 8, 2021

Rocket Mortgage announces new or expanded multi-year partnerships with 25 college athletic programs. Rightsholders involved include Learfield and PlayFly Sports.

The 25 university athletic department partners:

University of Alabama Grambling State University Penn State University
University of Arizona Howard University Southern University
Clemson University Jackson State University University of Texas
University of Colorado University of Kansas Texas Christian University
Duke University University of Michigan University of Southern California
University of Florida Michigan State University Virginia Tech
Florida State University University of North Carolina University of Washington
University of Georgia Ohio State University University of Wisconsin
University of Oregon


Sep 10, 2021

The National Football League (NFL) announces a new 10-year partnership with Verizon, expanding its existing relationship with the technology company. The partners will focus on leveraging 5G technology to ‘unlock advancements’ with regards to management, scouting, training, health and safety and general game-day operations.



Smith Angel City FC
Sep 14, 2021

Angel City FC elevates Jess Smith to Head, Revenue. Smith has led the development and implementation of the Angel City Sponsorship Model which reallocates 10 percent of all sponsorships directly back into the community. (See Oct 2020 Roster Moves for news on Smith joining ACFC.)



Drone Racing League lands sponsorship agreement with cryptocurrency platform Algorand. Terms of the agreement with Algorand were not made public, but people with knowledge of the deal told CNBC it’s a five-year pact worth $100 million. Excel Sports Management negotiated the deal with Algorand.


Carter LA28

LA28, the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Olympics Committee, tabs Kathy Carter as CEO from Chief Revenue Officer. She fills the CEO post that had been vacant since Gene Sykes departed in 2018.



Sep 16, 2021

Ritual named ACFC’s official protein partner through the 2024 season. This partnership, the first-ever sponsorship for the L.A.-based personal health technology brand, will support ACFC players while working to fight food waste and food insecurity in the community.



Detroit Red Wings announce Meijer will serve as the club’s new Helmet Entitlement Partner and will have its branding featured across home, away and practice helmets. Meijer branding will be positioned on the left and right sides of the helmet with further decals continuing to be seen at Little Caesars Arena



Rendering of LA Clippers’ planned Intuit Dome
Sep 20, 2021

Intuit signs a 23–year agreement for the naming rights of the Intuit Dome – the home of the LA Clippers beginning in 2024. The team promises that the Inglewood-based dome will deliver an “innovative fan and consumer experience,” and become a hub for programs that “power economic prosperity and benefit the community.”



Sep 21, 2021

United Soccer League (USL) announces the formation of the USL Super League, a professional U.S. Division II women’s soccer league. Expected to launch in 2023, the USL expects the new league to double the number of professional women’s soccer teams in the U.S.

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) announces Dick’s Sporting Goods as Official Marketing Partner of the league beginning in 2021. Through this new multi-year agreement, DSG becomes the Official Sporting Goods Retail Partner of the WNBA — with the alliance built upon the promotion of women’s sports, youth participation and player development.



Sep 24, 2021

The Washington Capitals and Caesars Entertainment, Inc. announce a multi-year partnership to put the Caesars Sportsbook logo on Capitals home and third jerseys worn for games played at Capital One Arena beginning with the 2022-23 NHL season. The Caps become the first NHL team to reach an agreement under the league’s recently announced Jersey Advertising Program.

Buffalo Bills name Delta Sonic the Official Car Wash Partner of the Buffalo Bills. Delta Sonic will present the “Crowd Noise Meter” at Highmark Stadium and collaborate with the Bills on annual community programs, along with a new video series.



Shaw TurnkeyZRG
Sep 27, 2021

TurnkeyZRG announces the addition of three new staff and two promotions:

  • Nzinga “Zing” Shaw becomes TurnkeyZRG‘s first President. Additionally, Shaw will take over as parent company ZRG’s Managing Director, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer (internal) and Global Practice Head of ZRG’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion client-facing practice (external). Shaw was most recently Global Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer at Marsh McLennan. Sports experience includes five years (2014-19) with the Atlanta Hawks as Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.
  • Curtis Walker joins as VP, Head of Sponsorship Recruiting
  • Tom Truitt joins as Managing Director, Global Practice Head, Music
  • Diana Busino promoted to COO/Chief of Staff from Managing Director
  • Kelly Lewis promoted to VP, Diversity from Director, Diversity

The Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty enter into a global multi-year agreement with Webull. Webull will have international marketing rights to promote its alliance not only in the New York market, but also outside the U.S. through marketing, advertising and digital activations. Webull will become the official jersey patch partner for the Brooklyn Nets beginning with the 2021-22 NBA season. Webull will also be featured on the jerseys of the Liberty, the Long Island Nets of the NBA G League, and NetsGC, Brooklyn’s NBA 2K League affiliate.



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Header photo: Washington Capitals website
Updated: Sep 28, 2021