Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry.
Packers Sixth Stock Offering Adds 176,160 New Shareholders
The Green Bay Packers executed their sixth stock sale. Exact totals are not yet available, but more than 198,000 shares were sold at $300 each during the offering that began on Nov. 16 and ended on Feb. 25. Including previous offerings, the organization now has more than 537,000 shareholders. The roughly $65.8 million raised will fund ongoing construction projects at Lambeau Field, including new video boards and concourse upgrades. Wisconsin residents accounted for approximately 17% of buyers, followed by buyers from California (8%), Texas (5%), Illinois (5%), Florida (4%) and New York (3%).
Game Studio Third Time Raises $3.5 Million for Web3 Push
Independent games studio Third Time Entertainment Inc. has raised $3.5 million in seed funding to develop mobile and browser-based blockchain games. The financing was led by games sector expert LVP, with additional funding by Reciprocal Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, 6th Man Ventures, Folius Ventures, Big Brain Holdings and Maven Capital. Founded by former Madden NFL creative director Ian Cummings and former EA Sports, FanDuel and Zynga veteran developers Paul Fleetwood and Brian Fleming, Third Time will utilize the funding to grow the team and its portfolio of games, which allow players to earn rewards as they play. Third Time has built an expansive player community with the realistic horse racing simulator Photo Finish and the sports-themed social hub The Suites, with multiple sets of NFTs (Stylish Studs, Fine Fillies and The Suites) already being traded on Solana.
PLL Brings on Former NFL Media Exec Brady
Mark Brady has been named vice president of media for the Premier Lacrosse League, where he will be focused on strengthening and innovating the league’s broadcast and streaming business, elevating its content presence across social and digital, and developing original show IP. Brady previously served as a coordinating producer for the National Football League, where he managed the launch, content production, and strategy of NFL Digital Media programming in addition to select shows on NFL Network such as NFL Fantasy Live and Move the Sticks. He also previously worked at ESPN for 10 years in the studio production department.
WME Sports Announces Three New Hires
WME brought on a trio of new executives, including Lorenzo Sciarrino from Legends, Megan Curry from Adidas America and Andrew Thomas from CAA. Sciarrino has joined as VP of partnerships for WME Sports’ full-service global property solutions team, which delivers naming rights, jersey partnerships and other premiere property assets, alongside revenue consulting strategies for the world’s leading sports teams, clubs and leagues. Curry will be the business development and marketing director for the newly formed NIL group. In her role, Curry collaborates with the WME Sports division to collectively build out NIL platforms, strategy and implementation as well as lead marketing and strategic partnership opportunities for the group nationwide. Thomas is the agency’s newest basketball marketing agent, where he will work across the teams at WME Sports and BDA Basketball to bolster the off-court marketing opportunities for basketball clients.
Shark Social Club NFT Lines Up Celebrity Support
A members’ only NFT project entitled Shark Social Club went live on March 10. Founded by hospitality and entertainment execs Shawn Chase and David Weiss along with technology mogul Mark Douglas, the SSC launched with a range of celebrity owners, musicians and athletes including Jeremy Renner, Rob Gronkowski, Diplo, Vernon Davis, Ashley Greene, Fred Durst and Matt Leinart. Shark Social Club’s first roadmap (which lays out the year’s plans) features exclusive merchandise drops, a crypto currency titled FI$H, NFT breeding, 3D models and a year-end, weekend-long event called SharkFest. A platform called The Apex allows sharkholders to access a queue of weekly events ranging from concerts to sports events. The SSC will occupy suites at these events where members can secure their place, free.
WWE Teams Up With INFLCR to Expand NIL Program
WWE has entered a multi-year partnership with INFLCR, a Teamworks product and brand-building, content and NIL management platform for college athletes, to increase the scope and scale of WWE’s NIL program called Next In Line. Through the partnership, WWE will leverage INFLCR’s technology and alliances with more than 200 NCAA Division I colleges and universities to reach thousands of INFLCR athletes looking to monetize their name, image and likeness. Together, WWE and INFLCR will innovate how athletes engage with the WWE brand while maintaining their NCAA eligibility. INFLCR’s recently launched Global Exchange provides all parties a frictionless experience through streamlining communications and processes associated with NIL partnerships.
Major Arena Soccer League Partners With M Style Marketing
The Major Arena Soccer League has connected with strategy firm M Style Marketing, which is known for working with top teams, leagues and brands in sports and entertainment. The pair will collaborate on the league’s long-term commercial and brand expansion. M Style has counted a wide range of clients from Federations, leagues, pro teams and major entertainment companies. MASL chairman Shep Messing said: “M Style’s work in sports and throughout soccer is well known. The firm has worked with some of the most influential leadership and at the highest levels of the sport. I have known Rob Striar for over 20 years and am confident that his role with Major Arena Soccer League will drive the trajectory and growth of the league.”
Premier Hockey Federation and Octagon Partner on Strategy
The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) has entered a strategic development partnership with Octagon, the talent management, marketing and creative agency. Octagon will work with the PHF to chart the strategic direction of the league, as well as advise on overall growth, sponsorship sales, marketing and other platform development. In addition, the agency will provide counsel towards the search and selection of the new PHF commissioner. The PHF’s partnership with Octagon comes on the heels of the PHF Board of Governors’ announcement to invest more than $25 million into the league and its players over the next three years. Central to the partnership, Octagon will work directly with PHF executives to develop a sustainable infrastructure within the league office to best support long-term success.
The NFL and Skillz Reveal Finalists for First NFL-Branded Mobile Games
The NFL & Skillz Game Developer Challenge has selected the four developer finalists, Brainstorm Games, iGamebank, Play Mechanix, and Session Games, whose NFL-inspired game creations have earned the right to brand their games with the NFL and club logos, and move on to the soft launch phase. The NFL & Skillz Game Developer Challenge will conclude this summer and the winning games will officially launch for play on iOS and Android prior to the 2022 NFL season. For more information, visit skillz.com/nflchallenge.
OpenSponsorship Lands ATA Football
OpenSponsorship (OS), the world’s largest online marketplace for brands and athletes, has signed ATA Football to its portfolio of premium properties. The Premium Properties division is dedicated to matching select properties with ideal brands for large scale partnerships and thanks to OS’ existing relationships in the sports and entertainment space means it can help brands build long-lasting, results-oriented and mutually successful partnerships. ATA Football is a global community for women’s soccer, providing access to live and on-demand matches, highlights, shows and player development content.
Doordash Named Official Partner of the New York Knicks
Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. has named DoorDash the Official On-Demand Delivery Platform of the New York Knicks, Westchester Knicks and Knicks Gaming. To tip off the partnership, the two have teamed up to launch a new community initiative titled Donation Dash, in which the organizations will combine efforts to support kids and teens experiencing food insecurity by partnering with No Kid Hungry, a national campaign working to end childhood hunger. For every 3-pointer the New York Knicks make throughout the entirety of the 2021-22 season, the Knicks and DoorDash will partner with No Kid Hungry to help provide meals for kids and teens facing food insecurity. This season to date, the donations garnered can help provide up to 400,000 meals. DoorDash is also teaming up with player RJ Barrett to give fans an inside look at some of his go-to dishes on DoorDash.