Well-known sports business executive Harvey Schiller and longtime sports agent David Falk have filed for a $225 million special purpose acquisition company, Goal Acquisitions Corp., focusing on acquiring businesses in the sports industry including, possibly, a major league franchise.
“Sports franchises and vendors are facing a huge strain on cash flow, leaving ownership groups without the appetite, nor liquidity to continue franchise funding for an undetermined period of time. Organizations with inefficient operating models are experiencing significantly more stress during these times, leading many groups to reevaluate their management relationships,” the SPAC states in its prospectus. “We believe the totality of these circumstances presents a unique opportunity to acquire special situation sports and media assets that would not otherwise be for sale and/or to acquire these businesses at opportunistic prices.”
Last month, Sportico reported that Schiller and Falk were considering forming a blank-check firm to take advantage of pandemic-driven opportunities in the sports business. The filing today formalizes their effort. According to the prospectus, Goal Acquisitions will seek a business with an enterprise value of at least $600 million that has likely been affected by mismanagement, cash-financing issues or media rights problems and would benefit from the vast slate of expertise the SPAC has assembled.
Schiller, who is CEO of Goal Acquisitions, is also 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; Sportsgrid, a sports betting-focused website; and vice chairman of Diversified Search, an executive headhunter. He also holds a number of other board memberships. A retired Air Force general and chemistry professor, Schiller has led or helped lead the SEC, YankeeNets, Turner Sports, the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, and sailing’s America’s Cup, among other organizations.
Falk has long been considered one of the most powerful people in basketball, having represented Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, among many others. He also notably negotiated the league’s first two $100 million contracts, for Juwan Howard and Alonzo Mourning, in 1996. Falk also has been an executive producer of Space Jam and recently launched the gaming competition Pangea Cup.
William T. Duffy is Goal Acquisitions’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer. He is vice chairman of Aspire Sports Marketing, a business he formed in 2008. Duffy has held executive positions with the Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers, Florida Panthers and the Atlanta Spirit, a group that bought the operating rights of the city’s NBA and NHL franchises and their arena in 2004.
Donna Orender is on the board of directors. She was one of the senior executives at the PGA Tour for 17 years during a period of strong media rights expansion, and also served as president of the WNBA. She currently leads Orender Unlimited, a consulting firm.
Also on the board of directors is Kenneth Shropshire, an emeritus professor of sports business at the Wharton School of Business. Shropshire also works as a professor at Arizona State University, is CEO of the Global Sports Initiative and advises a slate of sports-related firms.
Beyond the executive and board member slates, Goal has a sizable number of advisors, including:
- Jon Miller, a media executive previously at News Corp and AOL, and currently a director of four companies, including Akamai Technologies.
- Alex Greystoke, an Artificial Intelligence engineer with three AI patents and eight more pending. He founded HSC, a boutique corporate financing business.
- Raghu Kilambi, CEO of PowerTap Hydrogen Fueling, an alternative energy company, and an experienced executive in technology investment and in strategic sales of businesses.
- Amber Allen, founder of marketing firm Double A Labs and a former executive at Reebok, Disney, Warner Brothers and Riot Games.
- Bart Oates, best known as the center for the New York Giants during one of their glory periods, as well as a player for the 49ers and USFL’s Stars. He’s president of the NFL Alumni Association and a lawyer specializing in litigation and real estate tax appeal work.
- Martin Gruschka, a managing director at Springwater Capital, a turnaround private equity firm. Gruschka has extensive experience in Europe.
- Danielle Cantor Jeweler, an NBA player agent and partner with Falk at FAME and a leader at four non-profits.
- Marc Wade, a private investor whose family officer, Wade & Co., focuses often on asset-backed lending. Wade was a minority investor in the New Jersey Devils.
- Garret Klugh, a former Olympic rower and currently chief operating officer of Falk Ventures.
- Doug Perlman, founder of Sports Media Advisors, an advisory firm, and formerly an executive atthe NHL and IMG.
Goal Acquisitions plans to sell 22.5 million units at $10 a piece, which include one share and one warrant to buy an additional share at $11.50. SPAC-focused investment bank EarlyBirdCapital is the sole bookrunner, the firm that sells the IPO to institutional investors.
While Goal seeks a sports business to acquire, like every SPAC it can buy any business it sees fit—if it meets with shareholder approval. Once Goal prices its IPO it will have 24 months to execute an acquisition or it will have to return the IPO capital to shareholders.
Schiller, Falk and company join an ever-growing list of sports executives seeking a business to bring public by SPAC. There are nearly four-dozen sports-related SPACs in operation today, with roughly $15 billion of capital in hand or being sought.