Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry.
Legends Adds Former NBA Exec to International Team
Legends, a global premium experiences company, has appointed industry veteran Jesus Bueno as managing director of Iberia. Bueno—who joins Legends after 12 years at the NBA, most recently as the vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa—will oversee the development and implementation of Legends’ 360-degree services platform in Spain and Portugal. The move is part of Legends effort to invest in and expand its international business division.
Tempus Ex Machina Adds Another Amazon Prime Video Vet
Tempus Ex Machina, a sports technology company, is adding another ex-Amazon exec to its staff. Dustin Encelewski will be joining the startup as head of audio video products, working alongside Felicia Yue, who was announced last week as vice president of product. In his new role, Encelewski will lead Tempus Ex’s audio video teams in delivering media experiences to support the company’s long-term growth. Encelewski spent four years at Elemental Technologies, building a cloud-based video processing and delivery platform for media companies. After Elemental was acquired by Amazon Web Services, Encelewski spent several years adapting that technology to AWS native media services.
BSE Global Brings on HR Head
The parent company of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center has hired Maribeth Gainard as chief human resources officer. In this role she will oversee the HR department for BSE Global. Having worked in six countries, Gainard has experience operating in culturally diverse settings and a track record of building teams that incorporate a variety of backgrounds. She relocated to New York in 2018 after serving as chief financial officer of 3SI Holding, a $1 billion retail e-commerce and logistics company headquartered in France. She most recently was vice president of product-to-market at Adore Me. Gainard will report directly to CEO Sam Zussman.
Overtime Promotes Executives in Brands, Growth
Overtime announced two recent promotions. Tom Weingarten, who had been the company’s head of social media and has been at Overtime since 2016, was promoted to chief growth officer. Tyler Rutstein was promoted to chief brand officer, head of commerce, after serving as VP, general merchandise manager, since 2021.
USTA Partnering With Athleta for Three-Year Sponsorship
Athleta, the women’s and girls’ performance lifestyle brand, has inked a multi-year deal to serve as one of the official sponsors of USTA League, USTA Player Development Teaching Professional Initiatives and the USTA Foundation Excellence Girls’ Team. The partnership will aim to empower women and girls, reach new audiences of active tennis players and capitalize on tennis’ significant growth—more than 22.6 million people took to the courts around the country in 2021, an increase of about 1 million players from 2020.
Gym Class VR Launches in Meta Quest Store, Raises New Funds From NBA Players
Gym Class VR, a basketball app, announced its official launch on the Meta Quest Store and additional funding by investors, including 35V (Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman), SOMA Capital (Aneel Ranadive), Andre Iguodala and Rudy Cline-Thomas, GSW Sports Ventures, Lonzo Ball, Danny Green and Zaza Pachulia. The additional funds come on the heels of the company’s prior Seed Round in the summer of 2022, led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Y Combinator, bringing the company’s total funding close to $9 million. Gym Class VR’s full launch follows its showcase at Meta Connect 2022 and a successful beta period in Meta’s App Lab.
USFL Inks Scouting Data Partnership With HUB Football
Heading into its second spring season, the USFL has signed a partnership with HUB Football to provide scouting data on aspiring professional athletes. The brainchild of NFL agent Don Yee, The Camp presented by HUB Football has become an audition stage for players looking to work their way into professional football. To date, 606 athletes have participated in HUB Football camps in San Diego and Los Angeles, with 154 (25.4%) signing professional contracts following their participation. The USFL held its first draft in February 2022, and 52 former HUB Football Camp participants were selected and signed, including quarterback J’Mar Smith, who guided the Birmingham Stallions to the 2022 USFL Championship crown. Another 18 HUB alums were signed during the USFL’s inaugural season.
Funko Unveils New Pop! NBA Trading Cards
Funko, a pop culture lifestyle brand, released its next wave of Pop! NBA trading cards, featuring the likes of stars Stephen Curry, Zion Williamson, Luka Doncic, Ja Morant and others. The Pop! trading cards also come with a vinyl four-inch figurine; both the card and the figurine come packaged in a protective case to for display.