2 sports activities execs launch agency to speculate as much as $50M in early-stage corporations

Newcastle United’s Alexander Isak in motion with Crystal Palace’s Cheick Doucoure.

Lee Smith | Reuters

Two longtime sports activities executives are launching an funding agency they are saying will again startups capitalizing on the rising alternatives on the intersection of sports activities, media and leisure.

Velocity Capital Administration stated Tuesday it’ll make investments as much as $50 million in early-stage corporations with enterprise values of as much as $2 billion.

Certainly one of Velocity’s co-founders is David Abrams, a co-owner of the English Premier League’s Crystal Palace and a former personal fairness associate and chief funding officer of Harris Blitzer Sports activities & Leisure, which owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. The opposite co-founder is Arne Reese, who most lately served because the U.S. CEO of Sportradar, a sports activities know-how enterprise. 

The agency has closed its first funding in Camp NYC, which creates shop-and-play retail experiences based mostly on mental property from standard youngsters’s leisure, comparable to Disney’s “Mickey & Associates” and “Paw Patrol.”

“Camp is a enterprise that cuts throughout among the issues we have been taking a look at as a agency,” stated Abrams.

The corporate’s shops, that are a mixture of a buying and interactive expertise, are situated in New York Metropolis, together with its flagship location on Fifth Avenue, in addition to in New Jersey, California and Texas.

Velocity stated it has obtained funding capital from quite a lot of sources, together with Delaware North, a non-public firm with a portfolio that features greater than 50 leisure and sports activities venues, sports activities betting websites and the NHL’s Boston Bruins. Different buyers embody Signify Wealth, an funding advisor with NFL shoppers; Remington Ellis, a sports activities advertising and marketing and expertise company; Bolt Ventures, a household workplace that invests in sports activities and leisure within the U.S. and Europe; and RWN Administration, the household workplace of Apollo World Administration co-founder Mark Rowan.

In an interview, Abrams and Rees stated they determined to begin Velocity after watching the sports activities and media ecosystem evolve in such areas as know-how, analytics and mental property.

“For now we’re targeted totally on growth-stage corporations,” stated Abrams. “These are corporations the place we’ll seemingly take a non-control funding, however need to play an lively function as an advisor or on the board.”

Abrams and Rees stated their background in investing and sports activities gave them the boldness to get Velocity off the bottom. 

Earlier than becoming a member of Harris Blitzer Sports activities & Leisure as its chief funding officer in 2018, Abrams served as a associate at Apollo for a lot of his profession. Harris Blitzer — based by personal fairness professionals Josh Harris and David Blitzer — additionally owns the Prudential Middle, the sector the place the Devils play, and e-sports group New Meta Leisure, amongst different companies within the sports activities world. 

Rees beforehand guided Sportradar, an information agency that works with sportsbooks, sports activities federations and media corporations, by means of its IPO in 2021. His resume additionally contains roles at ESPN and the Union of European Soccer Associations.

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