Headline Sports Business

CAA Creates New Venture Capital Fund; Seeks $20 Million

Creative Artists Agency is looking to get back into venture capital after a failed attempt in 2007.
Creative Artists Agency is looking to get back into venture capital after a failed attempt in 2007.

Private companies that wish to raise money must file a Form D with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  That is precisely the type of form that was filed by a new limited partnership organized earlier this year called CAA Ventures I, L.P.

CAA should sound familiar to readers of this website.  It is the acronym for Creative Artists Agency, one of Hollywood’s top talent and sports agencies.  According to the SEC filing, signed by Michael Rubel on February 8, CAA Ventures I, L.P. is a new venture capital fund that seeks $20 million in funding.  Rubel is a Managing Partner and General Counsel of CAA.

This is not the first time that CAA has attempted to receive millions of dollars as part of a venture capital fund.  Although, this effort will be much more conservative than what was attempted roughly six years ago.  In 2007, CAA sought $150-200 million to invest in digital/entertainment start-ups and was working with Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a respected venture capital firm.  However, the venture capital fund never appeared to take shape.

In 2009, CAA partnered with a group of former Merrill Lynch bankers in a venture called Evolution Media Capital (EMC).  The boutique investment bank and advisory firm, EMC, has been involved in a variety of sports and entertainment deals, including recent sales of the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia 76ers and new TV media rights deals between the Pac-12 and ESPN/FOX.

It is all about producing new revenue streams for a company that has traditionally relied on the commission model to stay afloat.  In March 2012, CAA Managing Partner David O’Connor said through a spokesman,

“We saw an opportunity in the marketplace to help create an independent company that would provide an expertise in merger and acquisition finance and media rights transactions within the entertainment and sports sectors.  It’s been a fantastic affiliation that offers EMC clients something more than one would find at a traditional investment bank — a host of resources, relationships and experts within CAA.”

Now CAA is once again going to give developing a venture capital fund a shot.  Will the focus be on digital/entertainment start-ups as it had once planned in 2007, or will it now encompass sports, as well?  Further, which a more realistic goal concerning funds, will CAA be able to do what it was unable to accomplish years ago?

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

One reply on “CAA Creates New Venture Capital Fund; Seeks $20 Million”

Good article. That is a smart business move on CAA’s part to attempt once again to be open to venture capitalists to benefit their clients.

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