Excel Sports Management, which represents golfer Tiger Woods and MLB legend Derek Jeter, has acquired data insights and partnership valuation company Block Six Analytics.
The acquisition comes as data takes on an increasingly important role in deal-making within the industry. Excel said the acquisition addresses the company’s need for an in-house business intelligence function capable of offering data-driven solutions.
Both parties declined to disclose terms of the deal, but Excel said it was a complete acquisition of the Chicago-based analytics company.
Excel has worked with Block Six over the past year on brand marketing projects. The company’s analytics have helped Excel better assess partnership value beyond impressions or exposure and antiquated CPM—instead using machine learning and artificial intelligence tech to provide sponsorship, endorsement and valuation insights specific to a potential deal or brand partner.
“The ability to have insights-driven decision-making across all sectors of our business, grounded in really strong data analytics, is critical,” Emilio Collins, chief business officer and partner at Excel, said, noting that the company saw a “unique proprietary technology and solution” in Block Six. “We had an opportunity to really integrate it into our businesses [over the last year] and try it out a bit with our brands, and it resonated with phenomenal success. We couldn’t be happier with the ultimate outcome here.”
The agency now hopes to implement Block Six’s tailored data abilities in other areas, including its sports properties and talent businesses. On the properties side, Block Six’s technology will help with Excel’s targeting of potential partners for sales opportunities. Excel said that when it comes to athlete deals, Block Six allows the agency to bring valuable information to the bargaining table on behalf of its clients—including media and social analysis, engagement and player valuation—while having a better understanding of the brands on the buy-side as well.
“One of the reasons we leaned into machine learning [and] artificial intelligence is that creating scalable solutions is really important,” Adam Grossman, CEO and founder of Block Six Analytics, said in an interview. “We’re focused on measurement, research, insights, data and analytics, and Excel has been focused on strategy, negotiation, activation. … It’s a really powerful combination.”
Grossman said his company had received multiple acquisition inquiries since its 2016 founding but felt none were as complementary to Block Six as Excel.
Excel will open a Chicago office for the business intelligence practice. Grossman’s new title will be vice president, business analytics and insights. The new office will also house other Excel personnel as the agency looks to expand its presence in the Midwest.
With its sports sponsorship focus, Block Six’s technology has been tapped by agencies, global media companies and professional sports organizations. The company raised $4 million in funding prior to its acquisition from investors including Advancit Capital, sports tech-focused investment firm Phoenix Sports Partners, Stadia Ventures (an early backer of leading NIL company INFLCR), pro athlete investment vehicle The Players’ Impact and former NFL player Matt Hasselbeck. Michael Jordan’s longtime agent David Falk and Chuck Baker, who represented David Tepper in his purchase of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and MLS expansion team Charlotte FC, are among those on Block Six’s advisory board.
Data isn’t the only new business focus for Excel, which launched a new media division this spring, expanding into original programming and branded content development as well as media talent representation.