Newcastle United’s Alexander Isak in action with Crystal Palace’s Cheick Doucoure.
Lee Smith | Reuters
Two longtime sports executives launch an investment company that they say will support startups that take advantage of growing opportunities at the intersection of sports, media and entertainment.
Velocity Capital Management said Tuesday it will invest up to $50 million in start-up companies with an enterprise value of up to $2 billion.
One of the co-founders of Velocity is David Abrams, co-owner of Crystal Palace in the English Premier League and former private equity partner and chief investment officer of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA and New Jersey. Devils of the NHL. . The other co-founder is Arne Reese, who most recently served as the US CEO of Sportradar, a sports technology company.
The company has completed its first investment in Camp NYC, which creates shop-and-play shopping experiences based on intellectual property from popular children’s entertainment, such as Disney’s “Mickey & Friends” and “Paw Patrol”.
“Camp is a company that cuts across some of the issues that we have looked at as a company,” Abrams said.
A blend of shopping and an interactive experience, the company’s stores are located in New York City, including its flagship location on Fifth Avenue, as well as New Jersey, California and Texas.
Velocity said it has received investment capital from several sources, including Delaware North, a privately held company with a portfolio that includes more than 50 entertainment and sports venues, sports betting and the NHL’s Boston Bruins. Other investors include Signify Wealth, an investment advisor with NFL clients; Remington Ellis, a sports marketing and talent agency; Bolt Ventures, a family office investing in sports and entertainment in the US and Europe; and RWN Management, the family office of Mark Rowan, co-founder of Apollo Global Management.
In an interview, Abrams and Rees said they decided to start Velocity after watching the sports and media ecosystem evolve in areas such as technology, analytics and intellectual property.
“For now, we are mainly focusing on companies in the growth phase,” said Abrams. “These are companies where we are likely to make a non-control investment, but want to play an active role as an advisor or on the board.”
Abrams and Rees said their backgrounds in investing and sports gave them the confidence to get Velocity off the ground.
Prior to joining Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment in 2018 as Chief Investment Officer, Abrams was a partner at Apollo for much of his career. Harris Blitzer – founded by private equity professionals Josh Harris and David Blitzer – also owns the Prudential Center, the arena where the Devils play, and esports organization New Meta Entertainment, among other companies in the sports world.
Rees previously guided Sportradar, a data company that partners with sportsbooks, sports federations and media companies, through its IPO in 2021. His resume also includes positions at ESPN and the Union of European Football Associations.