In addition to becoming the company’s first strategic partner, the New York-based bank is also becoming a client of the firm, known in the industry as KAGR. Financial details of the transaction, signed under the J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management banner, weren’t provided.
KAGR, launched quietly by Patriots owner Robert Kraft more than 15 years ago, does data management, analytics and strategic consulting across sports and entertainment. That includes Kraft’s sports empire (the Patriots, Gillette Stadium and MLS’s New England Revolution) and more than a dozen other partners, including the Sacramento Kings, On Location Experiences and Mississippi State University.
JPMorgan’s main interest, however, may be in other uses for the data. Information from tickets, merchandise, parking, surveys, fan behavior and concessions can also offer valuable context when considering acquisitions of sports teams, and the bank often represents those high-wealth people. As an example, JPMorgan hired KAGR when a group including Alex Rodriguez was looking to purchase the New York Mets last year.
“Sports ownership is capital intensive, and specialized analytics are essential to the deal-making process,” Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management, said in a statement. “KAGR has the technology and the all-star team to help the industry make informed decisions.”
The bank is also a common lender in sports, and its sports finance group provides financing and consultation to many teams and owners.
Kraft Analytics Group, which was officially spun out of other Kraft holdings in 2016, is based out of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the transaction.