Ex-On Location executives launch sports SPAC eyeing $350m investment
Sports Entertainment Acquisition Co has become the latest special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to hit the sports market.
The company has been launched by Eric Grubman (pictured) and John Collins, two former executives of On Location Experiences, the premium hospitality business now owned by Endeavor, and Chris Shumway, the billionaire founder of private investment firm Shumway Capital, with support from PJT Partners, the advisory-focused investment bank.
It will seek to raise $350 million and target start-ups in sports in the media, ticketing, payments, entertainment travel and gaming sectors.
Grubman quit American football's NFL in June 2018 having been executive vice-president of business operations, where he was involved in significant transactions such as the sale of teams, the construction of stadiums and relationships with league partners.
Four months later he invested in and became chairman of On Location, which was originally the NFL's hospitality business before spinning off to cover all sports.
When Endeavor acquired On Location at the turn of the year, Collins stepped down as chief executive. He had been with the company for four years, having joined from ice hockey's NHL where he was chief operating officer.
In its business prospectus, Sports Entertainment Acquisition said: "These businesses often emerge within the ecosystems of the owners of content and other intellectual property, and require different applications of capital and specific management experiences to grow. The application of third-party capital and expertise has the potential to enable growth outside of the original focus area."
Collins is chief executive of the new venture, while Grubman is chairman and chief financial officer, with Shumway “actively supporting” their efforts as a co-founder.
Natara Holloway, the NFL’s vice-president, business operations and strategy for football operations, and Timothy Goodell, executive vice-president and general counsel for Hess Corporation (and brother of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell), have been appointed directors.
Earlier this year RedBird Capital Partners, the US investment firm headed up by Gerry Cardinale, and Billy Beane, the baseball executive of 'Moneyball' fame, teamed up to launch the first sports SPAC, RedBall Acquisition Corp. They went on to raise $575 million in an initial public offering.