Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and products across the sports business industry.
Rugby League Adds Two Execs, Forms Marketing Partnership
Premier Rugby Sevens, North America’s top-tier women’s and men’s rugby sevens competition, added to its executive team as the league prepares for expansion in 2023. Adam Robbins has been named the company’s first chief revenue officer, and Alexis Frappier has been named director of event marketing & sales. PR7s also confirmed a collaboration with Shamrock Sports and Entertainment, which will work with Robbins to attract new marketing partnerships to the league. As an NFLPA Certified Agent, Robbins founded a sports management firm specializing in professional athlete representation. He has also held front office and senior executive roles for the Arena Football League and USA Today. Frappier has been responsible for marketing campaigns for Feld Entertainment, Live Nation, and other event companies.
Mastro Dobel Tequila Partners With Golfer Jon Rahm
Maestro Dobel Tequila announces a multiyear partnership with golfer Jon Rahm. Currently ranked No. 3 on the PGA Tour, Rahm has won his two most recent PGA Tour starts (Sentry Tournament of Champions and The American Express) and four of his last six international starts. He now has nine PGA Tour victories, as well as the 2021 U.S. Open, along with eight international victories. As Maestro Dobel enters its third year as the official tequila of the PGA Tour, the tequila company will feature a series of live activations at hospitality and concession locations nationwide.
Gaming Society Fills Advisory Board With Jeter, Swoopes, Gray
The new betting platform Gaming Society has added three members to its advisory board, including Derek Jeter, Sheryl Swoopes and Chelsea Gray. Founded by Jaymee Messler (who co-founded The Players’ Tribune with Jeter in 2014) and Kevin Garnett, Gaming society is a gamification and content company aiming to make sports betting easier and more inclusive. Jeter is an MLB Hall of Famer who was a part owner and CEO of the Miami Marlins for five years, while Swoopes is a three-time WNBA MVP and Hall of Famer. Gray is the reigning WNBA Finals MVP and a four-time All-Star.
Yankees President Levine Joins AC Milan’s Board of Directors
AC Milan announced that Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees, has joined the club’s Board of Directors. Levine has been the president of the New York Yankees for more than 20 years and is recognized globally as an accomplished sports and entertainment executive. He was instrumental in the development of the new Yankee Stadium, completed in 2009, revolutionized the distribution of game coverage through the creation of the YES Network and partnered with the Dallas Cowboys to create Legends Hospitality LLC, a company that develops premium experiences in sports and entertainment.
Logitix Brings on New Chief Strategy Officer
Logitix, a live event ticketing technology and analytics platform, named Aaron LeValley as chief strategy officer. LeValley is tasked with helping Logitix partners grow their revenue, find new fans and improve ticketing strategies. LeValley is the former SVP of business operations & strategy at the LA Kings and AEG Sports. He oversaw organizational pricing decisions, built data platforms, implemented technology to improve the customer experience, and worked with AEG’s ticketing providers on strategy and product development.
U.S. Soccer Federation Sporting Director, National Team GM Departing
U.S. Soccer Federation sporting director Earnie Stewart is returning to the Netherlands to join Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven. Stewart will remain with U.S. Soccer until Feb. 15 to ensure a smooth transition. Separately, U.S. Men’s National Team general manager Brian McBride has also decided to move on after serving in the role for the past three years, effective Jan. 31. McBride informed U.S. Soccer of his decision before the 2022 World Cup. U.S. Soccer has retained Sportsology Group to head the search for the organization’s next sporting director, and it has already begun a full review of U.S. Soccer’s sporting department. The group will also analyze head coach candidates to accelerate the Sporting Director’s hiring process. The decisions of Stewart and McBride were made independently of each other and were not impacted by U.S. Soccer’s process for naming the next USMNT head coach.
PrizePicks Makes Hires in Legal, Compliance and Government Affairs
PrizePicks, a privately held fantasy sports operator in North America, announced hires to lead the company’s legal, compliance and government affairs-related initiatives. Jason Barclay, formerly legal counsel to two U.S. governors, joins PrizePicks as its first chief legal officer and head of public policy. William Guidera, the former director of U.S. federal & state public affairs at Netflix and senior vice president of public affairs at 21st Century Fox, joins the organization as its new senior vice president of government Affairs. Adam Packer, currently the General Counsel of Lottery-operator IGT Indiana, LLC and former General Counsel to the Indiana Gaming Commission, will join the organization as the senior vice president of legal & compliance. John Pauley, formerly the government affairs manager at Sportradar, joins as PrizePicks’ vice president of government affairs.
NBA, Meta Sign Multiyear Partnership Extension
The NBA and Meta have agreed to a multiyear partnership extension that will feature a new virtual reality experience for fans through Meta Horizon Worlds via Meta Quest, the official VR headset of the NBA and WNBA. The NBA Arena in Meta Horizon Worlds experience will feature 52 live NBA League Pass games in virtual reality throughout the season. The extension also includes the launch of NBA-licensed apparel in the Meta Avatars Store and authenticated NBA League Pass access in Xtadium, a VR sports hub app that offers shared watching experiences in high-definition. Fans can now visit the NBA Arena in Meta Horizon Worlds to watch NBA content with friends, compete in interactive mini-games and cheer on their favorite teams. Additionally, existing NBA League Pass subscribers will be able to access their subscription in YBVR’s Xtadium app within Meta Quest VR in the coming weeks.
CONMEBOL and Concacaf Partner for Expanded, New Tournaments
CONMEBOL and Concacaf have signed a strategic collaboration agreement for combined men’s and women’s national team competitions and a new men’s club tournament. The CONMEBOL Copa America 2024 will take place in the U.S. and will include 10 CONMEBOL teams and the six best Concacaf teams. The six Concacaf teams will qualify through the 2023/24 Concacaf Nations League. For women’s national teams, Concacaf has invited the top four CONMEBOL teams to participate in the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup. The inaugural edition of this 12-team tournament will be played in the U.S. The two Concacaf teams that will participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics will qualify directly, and the remaining six Concacaf teams will be determined through the 2023 Road to Concacaf W Gold Cup. The four guest CONMEBOL teams have been determined through results of the 2022 Women’s Copa America. CONMEBOL and Concacaf will also organize a “final four” style club competition featuring the best clubs from the respective confederations. The teams (two from each confederation) will qualify through existing club competitions and the event should debut in 2024.
Altius, NFL and NFLPA to Aid College Footballers on Pro Transition
Altius Sports Partners has formed a strategic partnership with the NFL and the NFL Players Association to provide college football players with education and resources to prepare them for professional careers. College football programs at ASP’s university partners have access to player engagement and development experts of the NFL League Office and the NFLPA. The NFL and NFLPA will provide official education assets to ASP’s client services team, which will deliver the curriculum for football teams. The course programming includes marketing and sponsorship guidelines and guidance, brand awareness and maximization, league policies and NFLPA resources and opportunities.
Travel + Leisure GO Joins With FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona has signed a partnership agreement with Orlando-based subscription travel club Travel + Leisure GO as the organization’s official Travel Club Partner in the U.S. Featuring bookable itineraries inspired by the magazine, Travel + Leisure GO is a membership group for frequent travelers and now, FC Barcelona fans. Membership, available in monthly and annual options, unlocks discounts at hotels and resorts around the world, with preferred pricing on rental cars, cruises and activities. Members also have access to a personal concierge service to assist with booking and reservations, as well as a complimentary magazine subscription. This agreement furthers FC Barcelona’s trade links with the United States.
Morgan Stanley GSE Returns as Reese’s Senior Bowl Financial Education Sponsor
Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment (GSE), a division of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, remains the exclusive financial education sponsor of the Reese’s Senior Bowl for the ninth consecutive year. After being limited to virtual engagements for the past two years due to COVID-19 precautions, Morgan Stanley GSE returns to Mobile, Ala., in person to participate in this year’s week of festivities and engagements. The Senior Bowl, which takes place Feb. 4, is the yearly postseason event that showcases the best NFL Draft prospects around the country who have completed their college eligibility. As in years prior, Morgan Stanley will host a financial education session for all the players, as well as accompanying family members, coaches and staff. The session will include Global Sports and Entertainment Directors/Associate Directors, and for the first time, former NFL veteran and 2002 Senior Bowl alum Brian Westbrook.
World Surf League Adds Apple Watch as Sponsor
The World Surf League has signed Apple Watch as the official wearable equipment of the WSL. It’s the first time Apple Watch will be used as official competitor equipment in a professional sports environment. Throughout the season, WSL athletes will get access to the new WSL Surfer app, which syncs with the WSL Scoring System in real time to provide scores, wave priority, and time in the heat. Every competitor will receive an Apple Watch before each heat, which will come preloaded with the WSL’s new app.
Mythical Games Acquires Tech Startup, Launches New Marketplace
Mythical Games, a gaming technology studio, has launched Mythical Marketplace 2.0 following the acquisition of marketplace tech startup DMarket. The new marketplace is built on Mythical’s layer 1 EVM blockchain and powered by the Mythos token, MYTH. DMarket has also adopted the Mythical Chain for its existing marketplace, which will continue to operate outside of the Mythical Marketplace. DMarket.com will retain the familiar experience with purchases in U.S. dollars, with all trades recorded on the Mythical Chain through the MYTH token to provide full transparency to the community.
Athletes Unlimited Announces Dates for 2023 Softball Competitions
The fourth Athletes Unlimited Softball Championship Season will be held from July 28-Aug. 27 at The Stadium at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont, Ill. The second edition of AUX Softball, a two-week Athletes Unlimited softball competition, will be held June 9-25, also at the complex in Rosemont. Both competitions will air exclusively on ESPN platforms again this year. The exclusive Unlimited Club season ticket presale starts Monday, and season tickets will be available to the general public starting Tuesday.
LaLiga Launches Event Series to Further Connect to Fans in U.S.
LaLiga North America, the joint venture between LaLiga and Relevent Sports Group, announced the launch of El Partidazo, a year-long event series highlighting some of Spain’s biggest soccer teams and matches. Featured LaLiga teams will include Atlético Madrid, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla FC, Real Betis and Valencia CF. El Partidazo, which translates to “the great game,” will feature the can’t-miss match of the month with watch parties and activations occurring simultaneously at multiple bars and restaurants across the country. LaLiga North America’s mission is to bring LaLiga, its clubs and players closer to fans in the region, and this series will allow fans to engage in person with LaLiga and its stars, complementing its growing digital and virtual offerings.