Ian Thomas

Athletes Unlimited Seeks to Reinvent Women’s Pro Sports, Starting With Softball

  • Athletes Unlimited is planning on launching leagues in three different women's professional sports.
  • Athletes will earn more of the profits as the league succeeds, and athletes will also participate in company governance.

As Jon Patricof looked across the sports industry for investment opportunities, he quickly saw a sector with growth potential: women’s professional sports. “Women’s professional sports is an untapped opportunity – it’s a place where these amazing athletes aren’t truly recognized for the value they create,” Patricof said. The former president of NYCFC, Patricof was also the former COO and president of Tribeca Enterprises, which operates the Tribeca Film Festival. Working with financier Jonathan Soros, the two started to look at […]

Read More

Friday Five: R/GA’s Kyle Bunch

  • Bunch leads R/GA Ventures’ sports innovation partnerships with properties like adidas, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Fox Sports, Levy Restaurants, MLB, MLS, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and UEFA.
  • "It’s a totally different landscape - it is that moment when the cable goes out for a day, and you pick up that old comic book, and all of a sudden, even when the cable is back, you say I’m going to keep reading this," he said.

As vice president and managing director of the Global Sports Venture Studio at R/GA Ventures, Kyle Bunch is tasked with helping partners like Adidas, MLB, MLS, and the Los Angeles Dodgers find new ways to improve the future of the athlete and fan experience through technology and innovation. However, there has been no moment in the history of the modern sports business that has made it harder to predict what that future looks like due to the complete shuttering of […]

Read More

USL Launching Rocket League Tournament Amid Season Pause

  • USL Championship and League One seasons are currently suspended until at least May 10 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • New esports effort aims to create something where "supporters and fans could come together again, compete, and share a few laughs."

The USL is launching a 32-team Rocket League tournament to engage fans and create a fun competition while on-field matches are postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic. It also represents the USL’s first league-level esports effort. The tournament, which will be called the USL eCup, will begin on March 31 and continue through April 24. It will be a World Cup-style event with a group stage and knock-out rounds featuring 32 USL Championship and USL League One clubs who will each […]

Read More

Friday Five: Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini

  • Barstool Sports had planned on being on a tour of Penn National properties this week - instead its staff is creating content from their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • "It forces us to be really creative, which is when the best of Barstool shines through," she said.

The sports industry has been left shaken by the widespread ramifications of the global coronavirus pandemic as athletes, media companies, leagues, and teams alike continue to evaluate the impact on their respective businesses. “It’s an unprecedented time, as well as a very unchartered one,” said Erika Nardini, the CEO of Barstool Sports. But amid the crises, Nardini said one thing is clear for Barstool: “What Dave [Portnoy] and I believe is that content is more important than ever,” she said. […]

Read More

Athletes Coming Together For Coronavirus Fundraising Efforts

  • Athletes across sports are coming together to raise money for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Participants range from Mark Cuban to Rory McIlroy to the Harlem Globetrotters to racehorse American Pharoah.

As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe, athletes across sports have been some of the first to act to help their local communities. Ranging from Milwaukee Bucks and NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo pledging $100,000 to staff at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee to Zion Williamson saying that he will cover the salaries of all of the workers at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans for the next 30 days to Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer hosting a waffle […]

Read More

As Sports World Pauses, Forward Madison Goes Digital With Jersey Event

  • USL League One club Forward Madison has emerged as one of the top merchandise-selling clubs in U.S. soccer.
  • Due to the coronavirus, the club has pivoted a live local fan-facing event to YouTube, potentially reaching a global audience.

On March 14, USL League One club Forward Madison was planning on having more than 400 of its most passionate fans join executives, players, and coaches at a music venue in downtown Madison, Wisconsin, for one of the more exciting moments on a soccer club’s pre-season calendar – the jersey reveal. This particular reveal was a bit special for the second-year club as well, given that this year’s jersey had been entirely designed by members of its supporters club who […]

Read More

Friday Five: NWHL Commissioner and Founder Dani Rylan

  • The NWHL has completed its fifth season since being founded by Rylan in 2015.
  • However, the 2020 Isobel Cup Final, the league's championship game, was postponed as a result of the coronavirus outbraek.

March 13 was supposed to be a celebration for the National Women’s Hockey League, as the league’s Isobel Cup Final was scheduled to be played in Boston. The championship game would have finalized an eventful last 12 months for the fifth year league. On the one hand, the league signed its first-ever revenue-generating media rights deal with Twitch, added a 50/50 commercial revenue sharing agreement with players, and sold the Boston franchise to a group of local investors. However, there […]

Read More

NHL Suspends Season Due to Coronavirus

  • The NHL became the latest league to suspend operations due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The league's decision will follow similar announcements from the NBA and MLS, among others.

The NHL has suspended the remainder of the 2019-2020 season. The decision comes on the heels of multiple other leagues and events suspending operations due to the coronavirus outbreak. The NHL will held a conference call with members of its board of governors around 1 pm ET on Thursday, on which commissioner Gary Bettman discussed the suspension of the season and its ramifications, according to sources. There was no objection to the postponement, sources said. It is expected that the […]

Read More

Female Sports Executives See Growth Ahead, As Well As Challenges

  • Front Office Sports reached out to numerous high-ranking female executives on their thoughts from last year and a look into what lies ahead.

2019 was a year of many firsts for women in sports. The WNBA made former Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert its first-ever commissioner and has since negotiated a new, historic CBA. Former NHL executive Jessica Berman was named deputy commissioner of the National Lacrosse League in June – the first time a woman has held this title in a men’s sport. Last summer also saw the United States women’s national soccer team both reclaim the FIFA Women’s World Cup title and […]

Read More

Friday Five: NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz On Growth & Expansion

  • Sakiewicz, who has served as commissioner of the NLL since 2016, recently signed a new contract renewal that will keep him in this role through
  • A former MLS executive, Sakiewicz compares the position the NLL is in with where MLS was during its growth spurt - "I think it's the NLL's time now."

Even in its 34th season, National Lacrosse League Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz says the league is “still a bit of a startup.” Since joining the NLL in 2016, the former CEO of the Philadelphia Union has certainly had the lacrosse league in growth mode. Under his watch, the NLL has expanded from nine to 13 teams and has secured the largest media rights deal in league history with B/R Live. In the last year, the NLL has seen double-digit percentage growth […]

Read More

End of content

No more pages to load