Welcome to Sportico‘s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry.
Fitch Ratings Names Henry Flynn Head of Sports-Related Ratings
Henry Flynn, sector head of U.S. sports ratings for Fitch Group since March, now leads the firm’s sports-related efforts. He covers responsibilities for Chad Lewis, Fitch’s senior director and team leader for global infrastructure and project finance, which rates the debt of stadium financing, as well as sports leagues and teams. Lewis left the firm last Friday after 19 years.
Red Knot Communications Names Robin Chhabra Chairman
Sports betting industry veteran Robin Chhabra has taken on the additional role of chairman of Red Knot Communications, a PR firm founded last year that specializes in sports betting businesses. Chhabra is president and a co-founder of Tekkorp SPAC, one of Red Knot’s clients. Chabbra remains with the SPAC, and the chairman role shouldn’t require a significant commitment of Chhabra’s time, SPAC CEO Matt Davey said in a phone call. “It’s a great role, we use Red Knot for a ton of work for us. They’re a fabulous firm, and we’re super happy that they made the offer to Robin. But he is 1,000% fully engaged on Tekkorp Digital Acquisition Company activities,” Davey said.
Game Taco Names Leif Simonson Vice President of Games
Game Taco, a skill-based mobile gaming platform, named veteran game designer Leif Simonson vice president of games. The announcement was made by Game Taco Founder and CEO Joshua Barrow, to whom Simonson will report. Simonson moves to Game Taco after spending the last two years as lead designer for real money games at Tether Studios, a position he also held in 2017 into 2018.
TickPick Announces Matt Horton as Vice President of Data and Analytics
TickPick, a no-fee secondary ticket marketplace, announced today it has hired Matt Horton as vice president of data and analytics. Prior to TickPick, Horton spent more than 14 years with Major League Baseball’s central office, where he was most recently senior director of data science.
Toldright Adds Sales Executive Alex Lovell to Leadership Team
Toldright, an on-demand video production resource for the sports, media and technology industries, has added Alex Lovell as its new senior vice president of business development. Lovell will report directly to CEO and co-founder Max Heineman and will lead toldright’s client-direct business development efforts, as well as oversee revenue tracking, reporting and sales analytics. Lovell previously served as a vice president of connection at iHeartMedia.
National Hockey League and Liga Stavok Announce Sports Betting Partnership
The National Hockey League named Liga Stavok as the Official Sports Betting Partner of the NHL and Official Sportsbook of the NHL in Russia and the CIS region, making Liga Stovak the League’s first-ever exclusive partner in Russia.
As Official Sports Betting Partner of the NHL, Liga Stavok will conduct dynamic marketing campaigns, utilizing NHL branding across the company’s digital sports betting offerings in Russia and the CIS region. Liga Stavok will receive premier marketing positions on NHL digital assets, including NHL.com/ru, the official Russian-language version of NHL.com.
University of Georgia Track Standout Matthew Boling Signs With Excel Sports
University of Georgia track and field star Matthew Boling has joined the roster of Excel Sports for professional representation. Boling, a junior, is the reigning NCAA 200-meter Indoor Champion and holds a number of other state, national and international titles, competing across the 100 meters, 200 meters, relays and long jump. Boling has a combined 1.2 million followers across TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.
Washington Capitals Announce Caesars Entertainment as First-Ever Jersey Patch Partner
The Washington Capitals and Caesars Entertainment Inc. announced a multi-year partnership agreement that places the Caesars Sportsbook logo on Capitals home and third jerseys worn for games played at Capital One Arena beginning with the 2022-23 NHL season.
In addition to the home jersey patch, Monumental Sports & Entertainment and Caesars Sportsbook expand their partnership with additional Casino, Gaming and Caesars Rewards programming elements. The agreement also includes the entitlement of a Caesars hospitality space and VIP seating at Capital One Arena.
Blackhawks Name Belle Tire Helmet Partner and Official Tire Retailer
The Chicago Blackhawks announced that Belle Tire will serve as the team’s new, exclusive helmet partner. Belle Tire’s logo will appear on the sides of players’ home and away helmets this season.
GK Elite Expands Partnership with Simone Biles as Associate Sponsor of Gold Over America Tour
GK Elite, a manufacturer of competitive and training gymnastics apparel, has announced it will serve as an Associate Sponsor and supplier of all gymnastics leotard apparel for the Gold Over America Tour, headlined by Simone Biles and featuring several Olympic stars from this summer’s Tokyo Games.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Named Official Sporting Goods Retail Partner of the WNBA
The Women’s National Basketball Association announced that Dick’s Sporting Goods has been named an Official Marketing Partner beginning in 2021. Through this new, multi-year agreement, Dick’s Sporting Goods will become the Official Sporting Goods Retail Partner of the WNBA—with the alliance built upon the promotion of women’s sports, youth participation and player development.
FITTR Raises $11.5 Million in Series A Round, Co-Led by Dream Capital and Elysian Park Ventures
Fittr, a health and fitness community platform, announced that it has raised $11.5 million in a Series A funding round that was co-led by Dream Capital, the Corporate Venture Capital and M&A arm of Dream Sports, and Elysian Park Ventures, the private investment arm of the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group. Existing investor Sequoia Capital’s India Surge also participated in the funding round.
The new capital will enable India-based Fittr to accelerate its growth and expansion into new markets, including North America, the U.K. and Singapore, which currently accounts for 30% of the company’s overall revenue, while continuing to educate the Indian population around health and fitness.
Boom Entertainment Raises $15M to Expand Real-Money Gaming Products
Boom Entertainment, maker of proprietary gaming-as-a-service, announced a $15 million Series A fundraising round led by Sands Capital. Boom Entertainment’s products—which include the white-labeled NBC Sports Predictor, Tim Hortons NHL Hockey Challenge, PlayBarstool, NASCAR Jackpot Races, MSGN Pick’em, YES Pick N’ Play, and Chirp Gol—have been played by nearly 3 million users.
The raised funds will aid Boom’s expansion into real-money gaming products. Boom Entertainment’s partners include media companies, sports leagues, retail companies, and sportsbook and casino companies.