Two of the sports world figures most adept at making other people’s deals happen are exploring creating a new venture for themselves. Harvey Schiller and David Falk are discussing leading a special purpose acquisition company, Sportico has learned. The “blank check” firm (one that raises money in an IPO and then seeks to acquire a business to take public) would look for a growth company, possibly in sports or esports, among other sectors.
“People ask what we’re looking for,” Schiller said in a phone call. “It’s wide open. I’m looking for the next Peloton. There’s a lot of talk about sports teams. There are a whole range of businesses out there.”
Discussions of the SPAC are in formative stages. To date, no paperwork has been publicly filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the nascent venture may not come to fruition. Schiller declined to discuss how much money the SPAC would be seeking to raise and what other executives and personalities may be involved.
Schiller is chairman of Charles Towne Holdings, an advisory firm with an active sports business practice. He’s also chairman of College Sports Management Group, a marketing rights business, and vice chairman of Diversified Search, an executive headhunter. But he’s probably best known as having been lead executive for ventures run by two of sports’ most demanding bosses. In 2000, he was tapped by George Steinbrenner to serve as CEO of YankeeNets, a short-lived sports franchise holding company that led to the creation of the regional sports network YES. A few years prior, in 1994, Ted Turner tapped Schiller to lead Turner Sports.
Schiller has also been executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee and commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. In addition to his experience in the sports industry, the Brooklyn native retired as a Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force after a 25-year career during which he earned a Distinguished Flying Cross as a pilot in Vietnam and chaired the chemistry department at the service branch’s military academy.
Sports agent Falk has long been considered one of the most powerful people in basketball thanks to his representation of many of the sport’s greatest players, most notably Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing. He also negotiated the league’s first $100 million contracts, for Alonzo Mourning and Juwan Howard, in 1996.
Falk, whose other business endeavors have included executive producing Space Jam and other hoops-themed film projects, investing in a private jet firm and, most recently, launching the indie game creator competition Pangea Cup, helped establish the David B. Falk College of Sports and Human Dynamics at his alma mater, Syracuse University. Falk didn’t respond to an email requesting comment on the SPAC.
More than 178 SPACs have gone public this year, the most ever. There are about three dozen sports-related SPACs in the marketplace, with collectively about $14 billion in capital to deploy.