Brand Velocity Group launches vertical sports industry

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Brand Velocity Group (“BVG”), an innovative investment firm focused on acquiring and transforming businesses, today announced the launch of its sports-focused branch, Brand Velocity Group Sports (“BVGS”). The pioneer of the sports industry, Joseph Cohen, becomes chairman of the BVGS.

BVGS is a sports investment vehicle housed within the BVG platform and targets companies in sports-related categories – both traditional categories and emerging sub-industries – with the goal of accelerating brand growth, providing financial flexibility and economic impact for to reach everyone involved. The BVGS will also opportunistically review investments in professional sports teams and leagues.

In addition to the core BVG team, which includes longtime sports executive and founding partner Drew Sheinman and former NFL quarterback Eli Manning, as well as founding partners Austin Ramos and Steve Lebowitz, BVGS has assembled an elite group of advisors who bring decades of operating experience to key areas of the sports business. All have championed innovation and generated billions of dollars in economic impact during their long careers. The team includes:

  • Charles Baker, Partner and Co-Chairman, Entertainment, Sports and Media Group, Sidley Austin

  • Gerry Byrne, vice chairman of Penske Media Group

  • Richard Diamond, President, The Headline Group

  • Don Duffy, President, ICR

  • Shelly Finkel, CEO Shelly Finkel Consulting LLC, Boxing Hall of Fame Executive

  • Carl Hirsh, Managing Partner, Stafford Sports

  • Bruce Lefkowitz, Founder and Director, Six Pack Media, Former Executive Vice President of Fox Networks Group

  • Dan Porter, CEO and Co-Founder, Overtime

  • Tom Ryan, Co-Founder and CEO, ICR

  • Michele Roberts, former executive director of the National Basketball Players Association

  • Jim Tanner, Founder and President of Tandem Sports

“I am delighted to be working with BVG on this exciting platform at a time when the sporting landscape is rapidly evolving,” said Cohen. “I’ve been approached by private equity firms over the years to become partners and pursue various initiatives, but I found many lacked the expertise, innovative mindset and entrepreneurial approach required in today’s environment . The diverse backgrounds of the BVGS team and our deep networking throughout the industry will serve as a competitive advantage for us.”

Mr. Cohen is currently Chairman and CEO of West Ridge Associates, a sports and media consultancy, and serves on the board of directors of Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. (NYSE:MSGS) and AMC Networks (NASD:AMCX). Building on their decades-long relationship, Cohen and Sheinman began building the BVGS plan last year as they both saw an opportunity to draw on their shared background to capitalize on changes across the sports ecosystem.

BVGS will benefit from the company’s brand marketing and business development capabilities, as well as operational experience, and will focus on improving company culture through its groundbreaking programs such as Share the Gains. Through Share the Gains, the BVG has distributed 10 percent of its carried interest income to all employees, so that everyone participates in the financial success of their company like a shareholder.

“I’ve spent my career creating value in the sports and entertainment landscape. As investors, BVGS will strive to do the same,” Sheinman said. “By leveraging our multidisciplinary approach and our team’s industry expertise, we have a great opportunity to drive success, in line with our philosophy of doing good by doing good. We look forward to making a mark.”

BVG last month announced its first sports-related acquisition with SCORE Sports, a leading designer, manufacturer and seller of sports uniforms for youth teams. With SCORE, BVG’s investor relationships are bundled at the professional athlete, team owner and league levels to support the current and future growth of the company.

About the Brand Velocity Group

Brand Velocity Group is an innovative investment firm focused on companies well positioned to benefit from its proven operational expertise, extensive in-house marketing resources and thoughtful approach to culture improvement. BVG has strategic partnerships with specialty brand marketing agencies that develop and implement marketing plans for their investments. Portfolio companies also leverage BVG’s extensive sports and entertainment networks to forge valuable partnerships with athletes, teams, leagues, celebrities and other businesses. In addition, BVG recognizes the value of all of the portfolio companies’ employees, each of whom is valued and critical to the company’s continued collective success. In recognition, the company dedicates 10 percent of its total carried interest pool (ie, its primary compensation as an investment manager) to employees on each investment. This is the Share the Gains program, which ensures that all employees of portfolio companies share in the success of the company’s collective efforts. To learn more about BVG, its portfolio companies and their innovative growth strategies, please visit www.brandvelocitygroup.com.

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