SBJ/April 30-May 6, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Gameday thinks outside the merchandise box

Gameday Entertainment has expanded its business to cover event marketing and management and professional representation, company officials said.

To date, the Denver firm has been a merchandise vendor for teams, facilities and events. The company, doing business as Gameday Merchandising, has deals with 10 major league facilities and two Pac-12 schools.

It also runs retail for the NBA All-Star Game, the World Football Challenge, and, most recently, America’s Cup 34, where Gameday is the master licensee for all unbranded product. Privately held Gameday generates $30 million in annual revenue, said Jeff Neal, the company’s CEO.

Gameday principals plan to use those relationships to expand their business, said Neal, a sports industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience as an attorney, agent, promoter and entrepreneur.

The company recently signed deals to represent sports artist Malcolm Farley for negotiating licensing, marketing and event opportunities, and with Denver concert promoter Barry Fey, whom Gameday will assist with concert and book deals, licensing agreements and the promotion of special events. Fey is the father of Gameday exec Alan Fey.

Gameday is also the exclusive marketing and licensing agent for the Branch Rickey Award, an award given by the Rotary Club in Denver to honor humanitarian efforts in Major League Baseball.

Separately, Gameday Entertainment is in discussions with NBA and college basketball coaches for full representation, including employment contracts, sponsorships, clinics and video production, Neal said.

“This has been in the plans since we first bought the assets of the company,” he said. “For us, it is an add-on; it is not a huge shift for us.”

Neal at one time represented former NBA players Detlef Schrempf, Rik Smits and Steve Kerr and signed marketing deals for them. At this time, Gameday would not be seeking contract work, Neal said.

Marty Garafalo, Neal’s business partner and Gameday Entertainment’s chief operating officer, has represented several athletes on the marketing side and owned and managed events in baseball, football and golf.

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