Apex, the sports and entertainment investment company, has joined the ownership group of a San Francisco-based team in the TGL tech-infused golf competition starting next year, bringing four new athlete investors into the fold.
As part of its investment Apex said it had brought with it four new athlete investors including English soccer player John Stones and Formula 1 driver Alex Albon, as well as Olympic surfers Leonardo Fiorvanti and Kanoa Igrashi, who will take “an active role in expanding the team’s fan base and driving commercial value through their audiences.”
The deal builds on Apex’s existing investment in TGL owner TMRW Sports, the sports and entertainment venture founded by golf stars Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, alongside businessman Mike McCarley.
Apex chief executive and founder Antonio Cacorino said: “Our investment is not a passive one. Our aim is to leverage diverse fan bases across various sports to amplify TGL’s unique product and increase its reach and popularity among both golf and non-golf fans. We want to see TGL contribute to the overall growth of golf, attracting new audiences and retaining traditional fans with its tech-infused approach.
“We really look forward to collaborating with Marc Lasry, Stephen Curry, and the other NBA players in the ownership group. They are experts in cultivating large fan bases, and combined with our experience in premium sports investment and technology innovation, we will provide the San Francisco Team with a real competitive, operational, and commercial advantage.”
The team was first acquired by a group led by Stephen Curry, the NBA basketball star, and Marc Lasry’s Avenue Sports Fund. Lasry is the co-founder and chief executive of global investment firm Avenue Capital Group and former co-owner of Milwaukee Bucks.
Fellow NBA players Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson are also part of the ownership group.
The San Francisco team is the fifth of six outfits in the PGA Tour-affiliated TGL. Other teams are based in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and Florida.
Other prominent faces among TGL ownership include owner of baseball’s New York Mets Steven A. Cohen (TGL New York), multi-sport ownership group Fenway Sports Group (Boston Common Golf), Atlanta sport franchise owner Arthur M. Blank (Atlanta Drive GC), tech mogul Alexis Ohanian (Los Angeles Golf Club), and Woods himself (Jupiter Links Golf Club, Florida).
The TGL will see teams of PGA Tour players compete across 15 matches, two semi-finals, and a final over the season, staged in a purpose-built arena in Palm Beach, Florida. The arena will feature a virtual course as well as short-game greens in a technology-focused experience.
The inaugural season will start in early 2025, having been postponed by a year from its original start date of January 9, 2024, due to its venue in Florida being damaged.
The competition secured Disney-owned international sports network ESPN as its first major broadcaster in November.
Apex, meanwhile, unveiled its participation in a funding round for the Alpine Racing Formula 1 motor racing team last October bringing along investment from several sports stars including UK boxer Anthony Joshua, soccer players Trent Alexander-Arnold and Juan Mata, and tennis icon Alexander Zverev.
Last September Apex launched a €50 million athlete-driven fund backed by several high-profile names including F1 stars Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, and international soccer players Raphaël Varane and Christian Eriksen.
At that point, the firm said it was “poised to reshape the landscape of sports, media, and entertainment by channeling the expertise and vision of world-renowned athletes.”
In a recent interview with GlobalData, Cacorino said: "The wealth management that athletes need is something that has really improved over the last 40 years.
“Most athletes have that part done, so we wanted to take it to the next step by looking at how to get them to become actively involved in investing. We analyze why they should do it, whether they're interested in doing it, and if they have the platform to become relevant investors.
“Our belief is yes, and that they should do it in the sports, media, and entertainment space. That's where they come from and what they know. That's where they have a strong network, unique industry insights, and the commercial value is even more relevant.”
In total, Apex works with more than 70 athletes in 15 different sports and over 30 leagues around the world, (including the English Premier League and WSL, F1, American football’s NFL, golf’s PGA, and tennis’ WTA) and it believes the biggest investment opportunities will be open to them before they retire.
Apex was launched in 2020 and has so far closed 15 investments, including in several tech companies such as PlaySight, Spalk, MyLads, Footlab, and Full Venue, as well as sports media asset manager ScorePlay.