NFL Partners With RedBird Capital, Bruin in Hospitality Business
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The National Football League (“NFL”) today announced that it has agreed in principle to enter into a series of transactions as part of a strategic repositioning of its premium events and hospitality business, NFL On Location (“NFL OL”). After conducting a review of the business, the NFL has chosen to partner with Bruin Sports Capital (“Bruin Sports”) and RedBird Capital Partners (“RedBird”), who will invest growth capital and assume operational control of the business.
Bruin Sports and RedBird will form a new holding company (“NewCo”), which the parties will jointly name at a later date. The NFL has granted NewCo a long-term license to run NFL OL, which will be the founding business of the new venture, but NewCo’s strategic objective will be to build a diversified, global business. Former IMG Sports and Entertainment President, George Pyne, will serve as Executive Chairman of NewCo. In a separate transaction, 32 Equity, the entity that oversees the NFL’s private equity efforts, will also invest in NewCo.
NFL OL is the official event and hospitality business of the NFL, providing proprietary fan access to marquee NFL events, including the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NFL Draft, and International Series Games in London. NFL OL offers fans two unique products – event packages and side event / hospitality packages – which provide game tickets in premium locations, tickets to VIP parties & exclusive on-campus tailgate parties inside the stadium security perimeter, and premium hotel rooms and fan housing. NFL OL is the only NFL-affiliated company to offer guaranteed seat locations and exclusive League controlled hospitality directly to individual fans to these events.
NewCo will retain the exclusive rights to provide hospitality services for all four NFL events which NFL OL currently operates, providing NFL fans unique, unforgettable experiences at NFL events delivered through custom built hospitality packages. In addition to tickets to the event, these packages can include airfare, hotel, day of game VIP hospitality and other premium unique experiences such as behind-the-scenes or field access, celebrity meet-and-greet and other once-in-a-lifetime experiential offerings.
With a focus on continuing to build and develop existing NFL events, NewCo will also seek additional global opportunities to expand the business through potential partnerships with other iconic rights holders in sports, entertainment and lifestyle/hospitality, including other sports leagues, marquee entertainment and lifestyle events such as award shows and music festivals.
“The NFL remains focused on delivering fans unique, high quality experiences at our games and events,” said Kevin LaForce, Vice President Corporate Development for the NFL. “This opportunity enables our On Location business to continue to deliver on this mission while identifying new and innovative offerings for our fans. We are very excited to begin working with our new partners to further grow this platform so that our fans have unique access to unforgettable NFL experiences.”
“I am truly excited to be partnering with the NFL and RedBird Capital on this unique sports property,” said George Pyne, Founder of Bruin Sports Capital. “Together, we will be the premier, behind-the-scenes hospitality service for the NFL, and will be committed to enhancing the experience for the fans and companies who love this game. There are significant opportunities to expand the NFL On Location’s product offerings, while maintaining the unique and special access that fans and corporations expect from these premier services.”
“The NFL has done a remarkable job over the last ten years building NFL On Location into a successful business that has the potential to be a standalone global platform,” said Gerry Cardinale, Founder and Managing Partner of RedBird Capital Partners. “When we think about investing in sports, we look for opportunities where we can partner with iconic rights holders to help them create premium live event experiences for their fans. The NFL is clearly at the top of that list, and it is a privilege to partner with them and work closely with George to help realize the global potential of this platform which we hope to expand through organic growth and acquisitions.”