Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry.
Motorsport Gaming Startup Adds to Advisory Board
Set to launch its Daily Fantasy Sports offering this summer, GridRival welcomes iGaming investor Lloyd Danzig to its advisory team. Joining Danzig is Joe Solosky, managing director of sports betting at NASCAR, plus experienced tech investor and Menlo Ventures partner Mark Siegel. As managing partner of venture capital and advisory firm Sharp Alpha Advisors, Danzig brings experience in the sports betting industry. Solosky offers over a decade of experience in sports and sports betting, having worked in executive positions at Sportradar and the New York Yankees before joining NASCAR. And as a partner at one of Silicon Valley’s oldest venture capital firms, Siegel comes with a track record of building and raising capital for tech startups.
NFL Brings On a Sports Betting Leader
David Highhill has been named the new vice president and general manager, sports betting at the NFL. It is the first time the NFL has had a position solely focused on overseeing its work and business in the legalized sports betting industry. Highhill has worked in the NFL’s corporate strategy group (VP, strategy & analytics), where he led cross-functional workstreams like the creation of fan segmentation and lifetime value models, league-wide strategic planning, and the go-to-market strategies around the NFL’s sports betting initiatives.
Excel Tallies Three New Hires
Excel Sports Management has brought on three executives to work in various aspects of the business. Alex Gomez, a coordinator, creative,arrives in the New York office after working as a graphic designer at SportsNet New York. Mike Harris, will be senior manager, talent marketing. He previously was marketing manager at MVP Sports Group, and he, too, will be based in the New York. Chris Rivers, who founded Tribute Sports Management, comes aboard as senior director, basketball, and he will work remotely.
Red Knot Communications Adds Head of U.S. Operations
Red Knot has appointed of sports communication and marketing executive Ashley Dabb as head of U.S. operations. Dabb brings over a decade of sports PR and marketing experience to Red Knot, including eight years with MLS’ Philadelphia Union where she was vice president, marketing & communications; three years as CMO of the National Lacrosse League; and two years running communications for the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Dabb won the Leaders 40 Under 40 Marketing and Communications award in 2017, and in 2018 was named to the Forbes list of Women to Watch and won the Distinguished Alumni Award from Neumann University.
NYRR Nominates New Board Chair
New York Road Runners has proposed Nnenna Lynch as the next chair of the NYRR Board of Directors. Once approved in a formal board vote at its 2023 annual meeting, she will become the first woman and the first African American in the position. Lynch has served on the NYRR board since 2014, and she serves as chair of the NYRR community impact committee. She has a long history in real-estate development, government, public policy and finance, having previously served as senior advisor to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for whom she set the strategy for growing New York City’s economy and oversaw over 10 city agencies with a collective budget of $5 billion and more than 20,000 employees. Currently, she is the founder and CEO of Xylem Projects, a New York City-based and mission-driven real-estate investment and development firm with a focus on urban residential and affordable and mixed-income housing. The New York City native earned an MA in Anthropology at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and a BA in Sociology at Villanova, where she won five NCAA titles in track and field.
LeMond Bicycles Names CEO
LeMond Bicycles has appointed Rick Adams as its new CEO. Adams brings more than 30 years of experience to LeMond Bicycles, as it enters the global e-bike market. Adams joins LeMond following 11 years at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, most recently as the chief of sport performance. Adams joined the USOPC after a 15-year career in professional sports, including eight years as president/CEO of the East Coast Hockey league.
JMI Sports Appoints VP of Business Development
JMI Sports,a media rights and venue development company,has appointment Laila Brock as vice president, business development. In this newly created role, Brock will direct JMI Sports’ industry outreach and relationship development throughout the collegiate and professional marketplace to drive revenue through property acquisitions, events and strategic initiatives that cultivate new prospects. She will work closely with JMI Sports’ executive team to develop and execute strategic growth across its multimedia rights and venue portfolios, as well as identify areas of opportunity in different sectors. Brock has been with JMI Sports since 2019, previously serving as vice president sponsorship sales & operations on the Pitt Sports Marketing property, where she led the onsite sponsorship team and worked closely with the Pitt Athletic Department to create partnerships.
Waze and Tour de France Team Up
Waze, the community-based traffic and navigation app, has entered a three-year sponsorship and partnership with the Tour de France and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, as the race returns for its 109th year. In a first-of-its kind collaboration, Waze is the Tour’s Official Traffic Manager, providing its tools, data and insights to drivers, athletes, fans and more. Ahead of the start line, Waze’s community of volunteer map editors will update the maps with 4,000 kilometers of road closures, the start and finish points, temporary car parks and live traffic speeds, ensuring drivers can navigate event traffic. Waze will also become an official event sponsor, supporting logistics and branding four safety vehicles and a guest car in the Tour’s famous caravan.
Foot Locker Canada and the Canadian Elite Basketball League Announce Pact
A deal that will make Foot Locker Canada the Elite League’s newest sponsor for the 2022 season, which started on May 25 and will conclude Aug. 14. The Foot Locker logo will be displayed on court of each of the league’s 10 teams, and the partnership will also include fan activations, player appearances, youth basketball camps, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, and more. The CEBL has graduated five players into an NBA roster in the past six months including Xavier Moon, Javin DeLaurier, Cat Barber, Xavier Sneed and Lindell Wigginton.