Two sports execs launch company to invest up to $50 million in early-stage companies

TECHNOLOGY
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Newcastle United’s Alexander Isak and Crystal Palace’s Sheikh Dukur.

Lee Smith | Reuters

Two longtime sports executives have launched an investment firm to help startups take advantage of opportunities to grow at the intersection of sports, media and entertainment, they say.

Velocity Capital Management announced Tuesday that it will invest up to $50 million in early-stage companies valued at up to $2 billion.

One of Velocity’s co-founders is a former private equity partner and chief investment officer of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, co-owner of English Premier League club Crystal Palace and owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils. I am David Abrams. Another co-founder is Arne Reese, most recently the US CEO of Sportradar, a sports technology business.

The company makes its first investment in Camp New York, which creates a shop-and-play retail experience based on popular children’s entertainment intellectual property such as Disney’s “Mickey & Friends” and “Paw Patrol.” completed.

“Camp is a business that cuts across some of what we’ve seen as a company,” said Abrams.

Combining shopping and interactive experiences, the company’s stores are located in New York City, including its flagship store on Fifth Avenue, as well as New Jersey, California and Texas.

Velocity said it has received investment funding from a variety of sources, including more than 50 entertainment and sports venues, sports betting sites, and Delaware North, a privately held company whose portfolio includes NHL’s Boston Bruins. Other investors include Signify Wealth, an investment advisor to 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. RWN Management is 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 seeing the sports and media ecosystem evolve in areas such as technology, analytics, and intellectual property.

“Right now, our focus is primarily on growth stage companies,” Abrams said. “These are companies in which we are likely to make non-controlling investments, but where we would like to play an active role as advisor or director.”

Abrams and Reese said their backgrounds in investing and sports gave them the confidence to keep Velocity on track.

Prior to joining Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment in 2018 as Chief Investment Officer, Abrams was a partner at Apollo for most of his career. It also owns Harris Blitzer — Private He was founded by equity experts Josh Harris and David Blitzer. There are various businesses in the sports world, such as the Prudential Center, the arena where the Devils play, and the esports organization Nu Meta Entertainment.

Reese previously led Sportradar, a data company that works with sportsbooks, sports federations and media companies, in its 2021 IPO. His resume also includes roles with ESPN and the Union of European Football Associations.

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