In August of 2014, then President of IMG’s global Sports and Entertainment business, George Pyne announced that he would be leaving the company in order to pursue a “new venture“. Pyne began his new year with the official announcement of that venture and its effects are sure to change the sports business landscape in 2015 and beyond.
Pyne will be using his 25 years of business building experience as he heads the new media, sports, marketing, and branded lifestyle company, Bruin Sports Capital. Unlike most start-ups, Bruin Sports Capital will waste no time in making its impact known. Thanks in large part to the capital contributions of WPP*, Pyne’s new company has finished a six-month, $250 million equity fundraising round that brings its buying power up to a cool $500 million. This significant financial backing, along with Pyne’s leadership and proven track record, seeks to ensure that Bruin Sports Capital will become a global force immediately. During his announcement, Pyne said that the mission of Bruin Sports Capital will be to “[i]dentify unique opportunities, attract world-class management teams, [and] establish a culture of innovation”. Pyne went on to add that he believes Bruin Sports Capital will be able to differentiate itself from its competitors as a result of the company’s ability to pursue the “best deals”. He believes Bruin Sports Capital can achieve these goals due to their “long-term, flexible capital; extensive operating expertise, strategic … global resource in WPP …; and speed of execution.” The benefit of having access to the “long-term, flexible capital” Pyne referenced cannot be overstated. Access to such capital will undoubtedly give Bruin Sports Capital an advantage within the industry as it affords them with the luxury of acting as an indefinite entity.
Bruin Sports Capital will likely have an impact not only on athletes whom are looking for an agency with which to sign, but also on the agents representing them. Through the financial backing and global resources of WPP, Bruin Sports Capital will be able to hit the ground running and rival some of the more well-established mega-agencies such as William Morris Endeavor (WME), Creative Artist Agency (CAA), and Octagon Sports, among others. Whenever a new company with this much buzz enters the marketplace a shift of some sort is sure to ensue. With one of company’s goals being to “attract world-class management teams” it would not be surprising to see Pyne’s company make a big splash within the first few months of operation through a major hire or signing.
*WPP is one of the world’s leaders in multinational advertising and public relations. WPP is based out of London, England with branch locations in New York, New York; Hong Kong, Japan; Shanghai, China; and Sydney, Australia; among others.