Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry.
General Sports Worldwide Hires Jentry Mullins for Exec Search and Team Advising
Jentry Mullins has joined General Sports Worldwide in the newly created position of senior director, executive search and team consulting. In his role, Mullins will be responsible for recruiting front-office executive talent internationally, consulting with sports teams and leagues to improve their business operations, and developing the firm’s sales and leadership training program. Mullins served as senior director, business development and premium sales for the Cleveland Cavaliers and also had stints with the Phoenix Suns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
General Sports Worldwide was launched in 2020 by CEO Andy Appleby and is focused player representation, naming rights, executive search and team sales, mergers and acquisitions.
Obsesh Digs Deep, Hires Canyon Ceman as Chief Athlete Officer
Obsesh has hired Canyon Ceman, former senior vice president of talent development at WWE, as chief athlete officer. In that role, he’ll build and lead the company’s athlete vision and growth roadmap. At WWE, Ceman helped conceive the talent development system and its WWE Performance Center. He also led WWE’s global recruitment for superstars. A Stanford Athletic Hall of Famer and professional AVP volleyball player for 15 years, Ceman will continue to work with elite athletes at Obsesh, a sports marketplace platform that democratizes athlete entrepreneurship, enabling amateur and professional athletes to easily capture, manage, grow and monetize their IP.
Tar Heel Hoopers Get NIL Slam Dunk Courtesy of FanBox and The BrandR Group
NIL FanBox and the University of North Carolina men’s and women’s basketball athletes have joined a memorabilia platform to deliver Tar Heel fans officially endorsed, autographed collectibles of their favorite teams and players. In conjunction, NIL FanBox’s key partnership with The BrandR Group (TBG), a collegiate group licensing agency, has launched a program to allow numerous UNC athletes to participate and benefit while helping to help scale the FanBox offering nationally. Through NIL Fanbox, Tar Heel supporters can subscribe for less than $10 per month to receive authentic, autographed player memorabilia delivered right to their door, with meaningful profits distributed back to UNC athletes. In addition, fans can customize their Tar Heel FanBox with exclusive, limited edition “add-ons” from all-time UNC greats who have opted in to BrandR’s licensing program. Each player on the men’s and women’s basketball teams received financial compensation as part of the program launch, and through TBG’s partnership with NIL FanBox, both former and current athletes can profit off of their name, image, and likeness.
Bradshaw NFTs Hit the Market for Super Bowl Weekend
Terry Bradshaw and Impossible Brief are collaborating on The Terry Bradshaw “Undefeated” Collection, which consists of three NFTs: The Blond Bomber, 1st and Go and 4-0. The tokens celebrate the Bradshaw’s Hall-of-Fame career, from his dominant college days to his undefeated championship legacy as a pro. The collection is available starting Feb. 11 at 9 a.m. ET on Crypto.com and will remain accessible until 9 a.m. ET on Feb. 13. Impossible Brief is the collective behind the NFTs of the Crypto.com Marscapes series, Lionel Messi, The Tupac Shakur Estate, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Snoop Dogg, The Harlem Globetrotters, Phil Ivey, IOTA, Alex Ovechkin and Fernando Tatis Jr.
Principal Supports Salary Boost for Premier Hockey Federation
Principal has become the exclusive financial services marketing partner of the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) through a new sponsorship agreement. The partnership with Principal is a significant step for continued growth of the PHF, which designates 50% of league sponsorship revenue to help increase player salaries. The PHF also recently announced a $25 million investment from its Board of Governors to directly enhance the player experience over the next three years. The commitment is to raise salaries and benefits, improve equipment and infrastructure, and to expand from six to eight teams for the 2022-23 season. As part of the sponsorship, Principal will have a significant advertising presence, including dasher board and broadcast inventory during PHF regular season games and the 2022 Isobel Cup Playoffs streaming live across the U.S. exclusively on ESPN+. In addition, Principal will be working in partnership with the PHF to create an integrated social media campaign that shines a spotlight on the athletes in the league.
A.I. and T-Mac Will Stream Highlight Reel Tete-a-Tete During All-Star Weekend
Bleacher Report and Triller’s Verzuz are teaming up to produce B/R x Verzuz Highlight Battle powered by AT&T 5G during NBA All-Star Weekend. In the first-ever NBA highlight battle, Naismith Hall of Famers Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady will compete in a live-stream presentation of their best dunks, crossovers and killer moves. Joining the action in the role of commissioner, Shaquille O’Neal will be an ambassador of the stage by “setting the matchup” for each event, introducing the competitors, and weighing in on who he thinks won each round. As an analyst, recording artist Fat Joe will give real-time feedback and advice to the competitors, and Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks will keep the action moving with interviews. DJ Envy will set the stage with a musical set before and after the battle. The showdown will take place Feb. 18, at 11 p.m. ET in Cleveland, site of All-Star Game, and will stream live on the Bleacher Report app and Verzuz Instagram channel.
Velocity Global Speeds Into Partnership With the DP World Tour
The DP World Tour announced that Velocity Global has become an Official Tour Partner in a multi-year agreement. As part of the deal Velocity Global marketing opportunities, including on-course signage and live television branding during DP World Tour events, social media content and access to tournament hospitality services. Velocity Global and the DP World Tour will also develop a multi-channel content series to showcase some of the top players in the world. Velocity Global also gains elevated partnership status at three of the DP World Tour’s premier tournaments each season. The company’s Global Work Platform—now the Official Global Work Platform of the DP World Tour—enables employers to grow compliant distributed workforces in more than 185 countries. The DP World Tour will use Velocity Global’s services to help its employees work anywhere in the world.
Prevent Biometrics Tallies $5 Million in Strategic Funding
Prevent Biometrics, the industry-leading head impact monitoring system, announced today the infusion of $5 million in strategic funding. The raise was led by Phoenix Capital Ventures and included follow-on investment from the Mortenson family and other previous investors. In conjunction, Prevent also announced that Phoenix Capital Ventures’ founder and managing partner Andrew Steinberg has joined the company’s board. Using research developed at the Cleveland Clinic, Prevent has developed a system for measuring head impacts in sports and military training. Over the past 18 months, Prevent has advanced its overall system to be able to supply accurate head impact data in real time, providing valuable information to improve the safety of sports and military training. This capital will help Prevent grow existing partnerships and expand studies, satisfy a surge in demand from new partners and develop version 2.0, slated to be released this fall.
Basketball Africa League Announces 12 Teams and Game Schedule for 2022 Season
The Basketball Africa League (BAL) announced the top 12 club teams from 12 African countries that will compete in the 2022 BAL season, which will tip off Saturday, March 5, at the Dakar Arena in Dakar, Senegal, and will include stops in Cairo, Egypt, and Kigali, Rwanda. The 12 teams, which include defending BAL Champion Zamalek (Egypt) and four other teams returning from the inaugural BAL season in 2021, will be divided into two conferences—the Sahara Conference and the Nile Conference. Each conference will play a 15-game group phase and the top four teams from each conference will qualify for the single-elimination BAL Playoffs at Kigali Arena from May 21-28. New Fortress Energy (NFE), Rwanda Development Board (RDB), NIKE, Jordan Brand and Wilson will return as BAL Foundational Partners. The league’s roster of world-class marketing partners also includes Flutterwave and Hennessy. On May 30, 2021, Zamalek defeated US Monastir 76-63 to win the inaugural BAL Championship, which was broadcast to fans in 215 countries and territories in 15 languages.