Bruin brings in experienced agency executive Pierce to advise on future strategy
By Simon Ward
Bruin Sports Capital, the international sports and entertainment investment company, has boosted its team with the appointment of the experienced Andy Pierce, formerly of prominent agencies IMG, Creative Artists Agency and Lagardère Sports, as a special advisor.
Pierce (pictured), who has spent more than 35 years in sports marketing, will work with Bruin, which launched in 2015, as the firm devises a strategy to capitalise on the expanded deal flow and interest it is generating as a result of new investment.
Late last year, New York-based Bruin, which is headed up by George Pyne, the former president of IMG Worldwide Sports and Entertainment, secured $600 million in new financing through a strategic partnership with leading private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and The Jordan Company.
Pierce brings expertise in areas such as consultancy, marketing services, talent and event management, and his appointment represents a reunion with Pyne and Bruin partner David Abrutyn with whom he worked during his long stint at IMG.
Pierce was most recently at Lagardère Sports, serving as president and chief executive of the agency’s North American arm from 2013 to 2017, before becoming global chief executive of its golf business.
He left at the end of last year as French media giant Lagardère moved to sell a 75 per cent stake to H.I.G. Capital, the Miami-based private equity and alternative assets investment firm. With the sale complete, Lagardère Sports is being rebranded under the name of former subsidiary Sportfive.
Pierce was previously employed at CAA from 2009 to 2013 where he helped to establish a sports consulting practice and golf division.
He had earlier spent 27 years at IMG, notably heading up IMG Consulting and reporting to the agency’s renowned founder Mark McCormack and then Ted Forstmann following its sale to Forstmann Little in 2004.
CVC and TJC joined other Bruin partners including Rock Ventures, the holding company of Dan Gilbert, the owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, NNS chaired by Naseef Sawiris, the Egyptian billionaire who co-owns English soccer's Aston Villa, and others, meaning that combined investment now amounts to nearly $1 billion.
Bruin subsequently concluded a deal to acquire Two Circles, the UK-based data-driven sports agency, from advertising giant WPP, while selling its 30 per cent stake in On Location Experiences, the premium hospitality business, to current IMG owner Endeavor.
It also explored the possible sale of its 75 per cent stake in Deltatre, the international sports media technology services firm, but the coronavirus pandemic prompted a change of heart. Bruin is now focusing on growing Deltatre and a new auction for the business is not expected in the near future.