Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry
Sports Finance Veteran Peter Wilhelm Takes Over as 49ers CFO
Peter Wilhelm has assumed the role of chief financial officer of the San Francisco 49ers, leading all areas in finance, accounting, tax, planning, technology and stadium operations. Before joining the 49ers, Wilhelm spent six years as CEO of Novita Ventures, concentrating on advisory engagements in finance, operations and investments focused on real estate, technology, and sports and media. He also previously served as EVP and CFO of Caruso in Los Angeles from 2017 to 2020, gaining experience in mixed-use development. Wilhelm was the senior managing director of McCourt Global (2012–16), managing enterprise-wide operations and investments in Los Angeles, New York and London, and was CFO of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2007 to 2012.
Hawks and State Farm Arena Hire Tech Guru
The Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena have hired Kimberly Rometo as senior vice president, chief innovation and technology officer. In her new role, Rometo will oversee the technology department of both the Hawks and State Farm Arena with a focus on its staff, technology infrastructure and information systems. In addition, she will help the organization identify and execute tech category partnerships and bolster sustainability efforts. She will report directly to executive vice president and chief financial officer Joel Browning. Rometo comes to the Hawks after three seasons with the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium.
Former F1 Race Director Departs Organization
The FIA, F1’s governing body, has confirmed that former F1 race director Michael Masi has decided to leave the organization. Masi was removed as F1 race director ahead of the 2022 season after a controversial end to last year’s title decider in Abu Dhabi, when “human error” led to the incorrect application of the Safety Car period that led to Max Verstappen beating Lewis Hamilton. Masi was replaced by rotating race directors Eduardo Freitas and Niells Wittich for 2022, and the FIA said he would be offered a new role within the FIA. Instead, the FIA says, Masi “has decided to leave the FIA and relocate to Australia to be closer to his family and take on new challenges.”
Dapper Labs Nabs Two for NFT Growth
Dapper Labs’ Sports Studio has brought on Jennifer van Dijk as SVP of sports partnerships and Adam Barrick as VP sports business development. Van Dijk will oversee the strategy and execution of licensing partnerships to help create global NFT marketplaces like NBA Top Shot and NFL All Day. Prior to joining Dapper Labs, she was CEO of Hoonigan, an automotive lifestyle and content company, and EVP of digital and content partnerships at Wasserman. Barrick, who will oversee Dapper Labs’ global sports and media expansion, arrives from DraftKings, where he was employee 100 and spent six-plus years overseeing business development and commercial strategy. He led a portfolio of more than 50 domestic and international league, team, venue and talent partnerships and drove strategy and commercial relationships in the gaming/market access, media, content, streaming, tech, data and NFT spaces. Prior to DraftKings, Adam held commercial roles with City Football Group and the New York Mets.
Harassment and Complaint Tracker RealResponse Brings in EVP for Emerging Markets
RealResponse has named Blake Davidson to the newly created position of vice president, emerging markets. Davidson has several decades of experience on the partnership and business development side, most recently at NASCAR before starting his own consulting business. He will focus on the development and implementation of partnerships with professional sports leagus and national governing bodies. Davidson’s input and leadership was critical in securing agreements with several NFL clubs, the NWSL, USA Track & Field, and the recently announced relationship with Major League Baseball to implement the RealResponse Anonymous Texting system for reports of player, staff or employee issues.
U.S. Soccer Selects Firm for CEO Search
U.S. Soccer has selected TurnkeyZRG to lead its search for a new CEO, after current CEO Will Wilson announced last month that he will step down at the end of October. TurnkeyZRG recently completed searches for new commissioners at the ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12, and is currently assisting the NCAA in finding its next leader. In soccer, TurnkeyZRG has recently helped place leaders at Charlotte FC, Orlando City SC, Columbus Crew, FC Cincinnati and other roles at Major League Soccer’s office. TurnkeyZRG has also worked extensively with the USOPC and other NGBs.
MLB Expands MGM Resorts International and BetMGM Deal
Major League Baseball, MGM Resorts International and BetMGM have renewed and expanded the partnership that in 2018 designated MGM Resorts as MLB’s first Official Gaming Sponsor. Under the multiyear agreement, BetMGM will continue to be an official sports betting partner of MLB, domestically marketing its brand and gaming options across a variety of league and team platforms including MLB Network, MLB.com and the portfolio of MLB apps. MGM Rewards will be the title sponsor of this year’s All-Star Celebrity Softball Game and presenting sponsor of the first-ever All-Star Saturday Extra Innings musical performance. The partnership includes data usage in sports betting, domestic and international activations at MLB events, plus multiple fan experiences. The long-term extension includes the presenting sponsorship of Bettor’s Eye, MLB’s digital baseball show. BetMGM will continue to be recognized as an MLB-Authorized Gaming Operator and utilize MLB’s official statistics feed throughout both digital and live domestic sports gaming options on a non-exclusive basis. MLB will make enhanced statistics available to BetMGM on an exclusive basis.
The South Atlantic Conference and Flosports Connect on Streaming Rights
Sports streaming outfit FloSports and the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) have agreed to a media rights partnership. In the largest NCAA Division II media rights agreement to date, FloSports will become the exclusive digital platform of the SAC Live Digital Network, showcasing all live and on-demand events in the SAC, including all regular-season games and championship events, over the next five years. FloSports will also produce new and original content on the FloSports network.
NBAPA Signs Up With Al Harrington’s CBD-Oriented Wellness Firm
Re+Play has entered a multiyear partnership with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), designating it as an official partner of the NBPA. Re+Play, a division of Harrington Wellness, founded by former NBA player Al Harrington, hopes the equity partnership will help promote its wellness and recovery products to a wide range of athletes and consumers. The multiyear product development plan will offer everything from topicals, kinesiology tape and massage guns, to other naturally infused pain products. The first product release is a line of proprietary recovery creams.
MCloud and Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited to Connect on Sustainability
MCloud Technologies Corp., a provider of AI-powered asset management and environmental, social and governance solutions has inked a commercial subscription agreement with Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited to deploy mCloud’s AssetCare Connected Buildings solution at the Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix headquarters in Brackley, U.K., home of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team and the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team. This AssetCare deployment is mCloud’s largest Connected Buildings solution to date, cloud-connecting over 650,000 square feet at Brackley, and leverages mCloud’s AI and analytics to create new energy efficiencies, reductions in CO2 emissions, and improvements to indoor air quality.
Jomboy Media Names CEO
Jomboy Media has announced the hiring of Andrew Patterson as its first CEO, overseeing strategy, performance, operations, and development across all platforms. Prior to Jomboy Media, Andrew served as chief strategy officer of the brand-building software company Greenfly, where he was named Best Digital Executive at the 2020 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards. Before that, Andrew was senior director, new media for MLB Advanced Media, where he was responsible for growing baseball’s social media practice, building the group from scratch to a team of over 85 people. In doing so, he grew MLB’s collective social following from under 3MM to over 136MM across 11 digital platforms globally.
NYDIG to Partner With New York Yankees for Bitcoin Benefits
NYDIG has agreed to a multiyear partnership with the New York Yankees to become the team’s official Bitcoin Payroll Platform. The deal offers Yankees employees access to NYDIG’s bitcoin savings plan, a workplace benefit that allows employees to convert a portion of their paycheck to bitcoin via the NYDIG platform. Employees do not pay any transaction fees nor any fees for secure bitcoin storage.