Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships, purchases and products across the sports business industry.
TMRW Sports Adds CTO, Head of Global Partnerships
TMRW Sports—co-founded by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy along with company CEO Mike McCarley—has added two senior executives: Andrew Macaulay will become chief technology officer, and Katy Chambers Mollica has joined as head of global partnerships. Macaulay will lead the development and execution of TRMW Sports’ strategy, execution, and approach for all technology. Mollica oversees building the commercial business inclusive of partnership strategy, sponsorship sales and account management, creating partnership opportunities, and working with partners to elevate engagement with sports’ avid and emerging new audiences.
Pro Volleyball Federation Announces First Team’s Ownership Group
A women’s professional volleyball league, Pro Volleyball Federation, is set to launch in February 2024, and it has announced that DP Fox Sports & Entertainment and its chairman Dan DeVos will own and operate a team in Grand Rapids, Mich., during the league’s inaugural season. DeVos and his family also own the NBA’s Orlando Magic and the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, and DeVos is a limited partner of Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs. The Grand Rapids team will play in Van Andel Arena.
NWSL Brings Three Senior Hires to League Office
The NWSL has hired Carlin Hudson as the league’s director of strategy, Celine Perrot-Johnson as chief financial officer and Maureen Raisch as creative director. With these three new hires, the league has doubled its staff since April 2022. Hudson will oversee the facilitation and execution of the NWSL’s strategic initiatives across the league and its member clubs. Perrot-Johnson will oversee all financial matters for the league, working closely with senior management to develop and implement business and financial strategies across the organization. Raisch will oversee the league’s brand vision across digital and social platforms, offline experiential events and merchandise, and spearhead the development and creation of engaging and relevant creative for championships, tournaments, launches, events, social, growth, and motion design disciplines.
Emmanuel Acho Headlines SimWin Sports Houston Ownership Group
SimWin Sports, a virtual sports league, announced its latest ownership group: Former NFL player and TV personality Emmanuel Acho, CEO of Sara Belay Inc. Sara “Lovestyle” Hood and CEO and co-founder of MOON Ultra Edward Madongorere. The trio, all of whom have roots in the state of Texas, form the Houston Hyenas team ownership group, and aim to represent a diverse fanbase that reflects each owner’s unique background. Acho, Hood and Madongorere are aligned with SimWin’s goal of furthering minority ownership in sports.
Mendelsohn’s Upland Workshop Taps Ripoly for SVP
Upland Workshop, a boutique advisory firm founded by Adam Mendelsohn, has hired Rico Ripoly as SVP, communications. Ripoly has joined the company after two seasons in the NHL working with the Arizona Coyotes, where he led the brand communications department. Prior to joining the Coyotes, he served as the head of communications and public relations at Cinematic Music Group, a record label, distribution and talent management firm, and also worked at Nike.
U.S. Figure Skating Appoints CEO
U.S. Figure Skating named Tracy Marek as its chief executive officer, making her the first woman to hold the position. Marek, a 25-year executive marketing veteran in the sporting world, most recently served as the executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Marek will begin her role as U.S. Figure Skating’s 11th CEO in January 2023, where she will oversee the day-to-day operations of U.S. Figure Skating and build an effective organizational strategic plan.
Guild Esports Teams Up With Little Dot Sport for TikTok
Little Dot Sport has been awarded a channel management and vertical video production contract for Guild Esports, a global esports business co-owned by David Beckham. Guild Esports—which has competitive teams in FIFA, Fortnite, Rocket League and Valorant—aims to cultivate and connect audience groups following growth in the industry; the company engages with more than 2 billion people globally. Little Dot Sport will use its TikTok expertise to guide Guild Esports strategy to build its brand and digital presence on the platform.
WWE’s “Next in Line” Program Partners With Exos
WWE and Exos are joining forces to provide WWE’s “Next In Line” athletes with the opportunity to train at one of Exos’ training and development facilities across the United States. While working with Exos professionals, WWE NIL athletes will interact with the Exos Athlete Experience Program and its sports science and data partners. WWE, which launched its “Next In Line” program last December, currently has 25 active athletes with NIL partnerships. Three athletes from the inaugural class have joined the company following their graduation from school and have started training full-time at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla.
Canela.TV to Stream Major Arena Soccer League Games in Spanish
Major Arena Soccer League has partnered with Canela Media, a minority-owned digital media company. As part of this partnership, Canela.TV will stream the league games in Spanish on its sports channel, Canela Deportes. The Major Arena Soccer League games will be available in the United States, Mexico and South America through Canela.TV. The MASL features teams across North America, with teams playing coast-to-coast in the U.S. and Mexico, and players from over 30 countries. Canela.TV is available for download on Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, as well as through linear channels on Samsung TV Plus, LG, Vizio, Plex and DistroTV. It is also available through iTunes and Google Play.
Avery Dennison Becomes Official Embellishment Partner of the Sacramento Kings
Sacramento Kings have announced that Avery Dennison will be the official embellishment partner of the Sacramento and Stockton Kings. As part of the deal, Avery Dennison has provided a broad range of embellishment services for the Kings uniforms, including player names, numbers and Dialpad jersey patches. The partnership includes the Stockton Kings uniforms, in-arena giveaways and merchandise lines, as well as support for local youth basketball programing through the embellishment of participants’ jerseys and T-shirts. Avery Dennison will also be the presenting partner of the Kings jersey customization station, located on the concourse of Golden 1 Center during all home games.
Horizon League Launches Conference Marketplace Powered by Opendorse
The Horizon League becomes the first conference to have a conference-wide marketplace exclusively for its student-athletes. The website, powered by Opendorse, connects Horizon League student athletes with interested entities to make deals compensating for the use of their NIL. It allows student-athletes to take advantage of NIL opportunities in a more efficient and seamless fashion, and it allows businesses and individuals to connect with student-athletes across the Horizon League’s 19 sports and expansive geographic footprint in one location.