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MLB approves David Blitzer's minority stake in Guardians....Eagles update wordmark, simplify with new font....Mike Mahan hired to run Fanatics' collectibles business

MLB approves Blitzer's stake in Guardians

By Erik Bacharach

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league has approved the minority sale of the Guardians to David Blitzer, pending the close of the deal. The arrangement also includes a timeline for Blitzer, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment's managing partner, to secure controlling interest in the club. The Guardians are working on a formal announcement that is expected in the coming days, sources told SBJ. The approval came as part of MLB Owners Meetings today in N.Y.

The Dolan family has owned the Guardians since '00, when it purchased them from the Jacobs family for $323M. Paul Dolan has been controlling owner since '13, when he took over for his father, Larry. John Sherman relinquished his minority share in the team with his '19 acquisition of the Royals, setting in motion the Dolans’ search for a new partner. It is unclear how much Blitzer will pay for his stake, which reportedly will be at least 25% initially.

Eagles update wordmark with new font

The Eagles unveiled a new wordmark that "will be paired with the traditional Eagles logo that has been part of the team’s look" since '96. The new lettering replaces the "curved 'Eagles' wordmark that often accompanied the team’s logo." The logo has "had slight tweaks on it over the years, but it’s mainly been that giant block lettering with multiple outlines." That stylized font "just got a little simpler" and "quite a bit simpler." The new font "won’t replace the standard eagle logo, but you will be seeing it a lot more often as it is now the official way the organization will be portrayed in all promotional material." Fan reactions have been "mixed" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/16).

Mahan to run Fanatics' collectibles business

By John Ourand
Mike Mahan joins Fanatics from Dick Clark Productions, where he was CEOFanatics

Fanatics hired Mike Mahan to be CEO of Fanatics Collectibles, a new role overseeing Topps, Candy Digital and zerocool. Mahan started today and reports to Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin. This is a big move, as it represents the first time all of Fanatics’ collectibles business (both physical and digital) will report in to one person. Candy still will operate as a separate company, though it will report up through Mahan.

Mahan joins Fanatics from Dick Clark Productions, where he was CEO. Mahan’s stint at DCP -- where he established a background in creating content and setting up relationships with high-profile influencers -- ultimately is what persuaded Rubin to hire him. Mahan will be tasked with growing the number of collectors, as well as the global exclusive rights around them. Fanatics launched its trading card business last year. It is on track to hit $1B in revenue this year.

Excel acquires marketing agency Game Seven

Excel Sports Management has acquired creative and experiential marketing agency Game Seven, bolstering Excel’s Brand Marketing division. Game Seven creates, develops and executes engagement platforms to tell brand stories in the sports and entertainment space. It has delivered campaigns for Nike, Foot Locker, Timberland, Oakley, Bleacher Report, Instagram, TikTok, Meta, Spotify and others. Game Seven was founded in '10 by brothers Justin and Matt Leonard, who will continue to lead the agency as co-Heads and will retain a minority stake in the business. Game Seven will keep its name (Excel Sports Management).

Cincinnati names RevelXP hospitality partner

The Univ. of Cincinnati selected RevelXP as the school's official hospitality partner in a multiyear deal. RevelXP will create and sell fan experiences for Cincinnati football and basketball games beginning this fall, including turnkey tailgates, new pre- and in-game hospitality areas and enhanced hospitality services. In addition to customized tailgates around Nippert Stadium, RevelXP will create and operate new common hospitality areas during pregame, and the company will take over management of current premium hospitality areas in UC athletic venues. The partnership also will include the creation of premier field-level suites at Nippert Stadium that RevelXP will work with Cincinnati to design, build and sell. The school previously handled hospitality in-house (RevelXP).

NHL Awards presenters span hockey landscape

The NHL and Tampa Bay Sports Commission revealed the presenters for the '22 NHL Awards next Tuesday, hosted by Kenan Thompson. They include Kraken fan Nadia Popovici, who famously helped identify a cancerous mole on the neck of Canucks assistant equipment manager Red Hamilton. Popovici and Hamilton will reunite as part of the broadcast. Among the other presenters are Flames Assistant GM Chris Snow, an ALS survivor/advocate, and his family; Martin Lafleur, son of the late Guy Lafleur; ESPN's Ashley Brewer and Kevin Weekes; Sportsnet's David Amber and Elliotte Friedman (NHL).

Behind the scenes at the Brand Innovation Summit

The Brand Innovation Summit, presented by Paragon Marketing Group, returned to the Ritz-Carlton in the heart of Chicago this week, with around 525 sports industry execs gathering to see how companies from across sports business are disrupting the status quo and changing the game of marketing. Some common themes that popped up across the sessions this year: all things blockchain (crypto, NFTs, etc.), the metaverse, sports betting, new tech and keeping fans engaged. Execs from brands and properties like the NHL, MillerCoors, Ball Corp., Sleep Number, Little League International, Frito-Lay, Kore Software, NASCAR, the Kentucky Derby, USA Track and Field, the Cubs and more shared their ideas, methods, best practices and stories on how to innovate and stay relevant with fans and clients.  

This year's BIS got things started at Wrigley Field, as attendees gathered at the Cubs' offices prior to a game against the Padres for a chat with team owner Tom Ricketts. The Cubs have big ideas about capitalizing on sports betting, and Ricketts detailed plans for a sportsbook right outside of Wrigley Field. One of the more breezy presentations at BIS came from Joe Tuza of Sauer Brands, who talked up the Duke’s Mayo sponsorship around college football games in Charlotte. Some of the more popular moments from BIS on social media were the Kentucky Derby bugler, the night out at Wrigley Field to start the event and Kevin Garnett talking about the emergence of CBDs in sports.

Read more here.

Today in SportTechie....

Speed Reads....

NWSL Angel City FC named Charlotte's Web Inc. as the team's Official CBD Partner. Through Angel City's sponsorship model, in which 10% of each sponsorship is reallocated back to the L.A. Community, the club and Charlotte's Web will focus on promoting health and wellness and supporting L.A.-based LGBTQ+ seniors. Charlotte's Web will receive logo placement during Angel City home matches (Angel City).

Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group signed a long-term partnership with Ticketmaster, which will bring its ticketing technology to all events at TD Place Stadium and TD Place Arena, including the CFL Ottawa Redblacks and the OHL Ottawa 67's (Ticketmaster).

Quick Hits....

"We are getting to the point where wherever it is in the region that has an interest in having 162 baseball games, they need to get to it, get with the club -- I know the Rays are anxious to get something done -- and see if a deal can be made" -- MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, on the Rays' ballpark situation (AP, 6/16).

Twitter Me This....

Daily Download....

"Fate of a Sport," a new documentary about how Paul and Mike Rabil founded the Premier Lacrosse League, debuted last night as part of the Tribeca Film Festival in N.Y.

Daily Digit....

$1,464 -- The average price of a sold ticket on the secondary market for Lightning home games in the '22 Stanley Cup Final, according to ticketing technology company Logitix. That is around a 26% increase from the average price of $1,164 for Lightning home games in the '21 Stanley Cup Final (SBJ).

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