Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry.
SiriusXM Names MLB, Disney Vet Joseph Inzerillo Chief Product and Technology Officer
Joseph Inzerillo, one of the architects behind the Disney+ streaming service, is joining SiriusXM Holdings Inc. as its chief product and technology officer, effective Jan. 10. In this role, Inzerillo will set and lead the implementation of SiriusXM’s product roadmap, satellite infrastructure enhancements, and technology vision and strategy. Reporting directly to CEO Jennifer Witz, he will lead a team of 1,500-plus engineers, product leaders and technology professionals, helping to enhance SiriusXM’s capabilities and drive scale. Before Disney, Inzerillo served as CTO and a founder of BAMTech Media, originally a Major League Baseball company, where he helped develop the first over-the-top sports offering in MLB.tv.
MSG Entertainment Names Deirdre Latour EVP and Chief Communications Officer
Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: MSGE) announced that Deirdre Latour has been named executive vice president and chief communications officer, effective Jan. 3. Latour, the former president of Edelman New York, will oversee all external communications and public relations activities across MSG Entertainment’s assets, as well as Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. (NYSE: MSGS). Latour succeeds Kimberly Kerns in the role, and will be responsible for leading all communications functions, including public relations activities for venues, live entertainment and productions, and sports teams; financial reporting; issues management; and other corporate matters.
Collectors Holdings Inc. Names Jason Harinstein Chief Financial Officer
Collectors Holdings Inc., the parent company of Professional Coin Grading Service, Professional Sports Authenticator and Wata Games, announced Jason Harinstein, an alum of Google and Groupon, as its new chief financial officer. Harinstein joins Collectors after five years as CFO Flatiron Health, which was co-founded by current Collectors CEO and executive chairman Nat Turner. Collectors authenticates and grades collectible coins, trading cards, video games, event tickets, autographs and certain memorabilia, while also compiling and publishing authoritative information about United States and world coins, collectible trading cards and sports memorabilia.
IMG’s Seven League Appoints Bindi Ghai Vice President, Digital Commercial
Seven League, the digital sports consultancy within IMG’s media and events division, has hired former Pinterest content and creator lead Bindi Ghai as vice president, digital commercial to increase the value of their clients’ digital production. Ghai brings 15 years’ experience leading global technology, digital ad sales and content partnerships at top technology companies including Microsoft and Twitter, where she served as head of account management and partnerships in Africa.
ASM Global Names First Head of Marketing to Spearhead Worldwide Strategic Initiatives
ASM Global, the L.A.-based event and venue management company that manages Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena, has named Alex Merchán as executive vice president of marketing. Merchán, who was the EVP of marketing for Live Nation’s clubs and theaters division, will be responsible for all marketing, data analytics, digital, creative and communications efforts for ASM. He has been instrumental in the execution and implementation of ASM’s recently announced strategic partnership with Qualtrics that will allow ASM and its partner clients and venues to receive unprecedented industry insights into fan sentiments, needs and habits.
Sportfive Appoints New U.S. Leadership With Neil Glat and Steve Loy Named Co-Presidents
In announcing its decision to discontinue its football management business and part ways with CEO and longtime football agent Joel Segal, sports marketing agency Sportfive has appointed Neil Glat and Steve Loy as co-presidents of the Americas. Simultaneously, the agency will continue to establish golf as one of its strategic global businesses by servicing top tier golfers and staging golf events. Glat is a former NFL executive and past president of the New York Jets. Loy, with Sportfive since 2012 and a longtime golf agent whose clients include Phil Mickelson and Jon Rahm, said, “Our goal will be to continue to build relationships and serve our clients and corporate customers.”
Verdence Capital Advisors Names Billy McMullen Director of Athlete-Centered Wealth Planning Arm
Verdence Capital Advisors, a private wealth advisory and multi-family office firm, announced that former NFL receiver Billy McMullen has joined the firm as director and private wealth advisor of Verdence/PRO, the firm’s arm dedicated to bespoke wealth planning, investment and advisory services for professional athletes and entertainers. He will help guide the firm’s strategy and initiatives, particularly those geared toward younger athletes. “With the advent of new name, image and likeness rules, college athletes, and even some high school athletes, are now able to profit from their efforts earlier than had previously been possible. The opportunities, and the pitfalls, are significant,” McMullen said.
Vivid Seats Announces Acquisition of Betcha Sports
Ticket exchange reselling platform Vivid Seats Inc. announced it has acquired Betcha Sports Inc., a real money sports app with social and gamification features, for the upfront purchase price of $25 million in Vivid Seats equity, subject to customary purchase price adjustments. The deal also includes additional payments of up to $40 million of earnouts that, if earned, will be payable in a mix of cash and equity. The acquisition will allow Vivid Seats to extend its marketplace technology into the online gaming sector.
BetMGM and PGA Tour Extend Official Betting Operator Agreement
The PGA Tour and BetMGM announced a three-year extension through 2024 to their marketing and content relationship designating BetMGM as an official betting operator of the PGA Tour. The companies will work together to provide odds to fans via tour digital platforms, and BetMGM will serve as the exclusive source for odds on the leaderboard and player pages on PGATOUR.COM and on TOURCast, which allows fans to follow every shot from each group with a 3D rendering of the golf course. BetMGM will have rights in the United States to use PGA Tour marks, rights to advertise within the tour’s media and partner platforms, plus content and video rights allowing BetMGM Sportsbook platforms to create pregame and postgame betting programming.
Socios.com Expands North American Footprint With 13 NHL Teams
Socios.com, a platform that leverages blockchain technology to power an influence and rewards app for sports fans, continued its North American expansion with the announcement of new marketing and advertising partnerships with 13 NHL teams: the Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals. The hockey teams join a network of more than 100 major sporting organizations on the Socios.com roster, including 25 NBA franchises and the NFL’s New England Patriots.
Rumble Kong League Raises $4.5 Million Growth Capital
Rumble Kong League, a metaverse sports league that hopes to launch a play-to-earn 3v3 basketball gaming experience, has raised $4.5 million in growth capital. The league will be built on basketball games featuring Rumble Kongs, a set of 10,000 NFTs designed by Compton-based artist Sickpencil and will be playable avatars in the video game. Investors in this initial financing round included JDS Crypto, with participation from IDEO CoLab Ventures; SkyVision Capital; Framework Ventures; Victory Creative Group; CAA Sports and Clippers forward Paul George, among others.
Stathero Daily Fantasy Sports Platform Closes $4 Million Series A Round
StatHero, the head-to-head daily fantasy sports app, has raised $4 million in series A funding led by BFG Sports Bet. The funding round caps a year of 5x revenue growth, Stathero said, and follows a $2 million seed-round investment in June 2020, also led by BFG. Jason Jaramillo, founder of StatHero, said, “This series A round is so special to me, because our original investors made it a priority to double up on their investment of StatHero.”
Spotlight Sports Group, Diario AS Announce Joint Sports Betting Content Partnership
Spotlight Sports Group, a technology, content and media company specializing in sports betting and fantasy sports, announced a joint venture with Spanish-language sports news site Diario AS, the third-largest sports publisher in the world. The partnership will bring Spotlight Sports Group’s sports betting expertise and user engagement technology to AS.com’s millions of unique monthly visitors.
Baron Davis Drops ‘Black Santa’ NFT Collection With Crypto.com
Former NBA point guard Baron Davis and Crypto.com dropped an exclusive Black Santa Holiday NFT collection, centered on Black Santa—Davis’ intellectual property and the lead character from his multimedia content company, UWish. Davis will donate a portion of the proceeds from primary NFT sales to the Los Angeles Urban League, an organization that promotes economic empowerment for African Americans and others in underserved communities.
NBA Cares Tips Off Legacy Initiative Presented by Kaiser Permanente
The NBA announced as part of its 75th anniversary a league-wide initiative to create and dedicate more than 50 new Live, Learn or Play Centers during the 2021-22 season, tipping off this week in New Orleans. The NBA will work with Kaiser Permanente, the league’s official healthcare partner, on three league-led legacy projects: refurbishing the Livingston Collegiate Academy High School gymnasium and repairing three homes in New Orleans East damaged by Hurricane Ida in August; dedicating the 2,000th NBA Cares Live, Learn or Play Center as part of NBA All-Star 2022 in Cleveland in February; and dedicating an additional center in Los Angeles in the spring.