SBJ/March 10-16, 2014/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40: Josh Swartz

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Josh
Swartz

Company: Relativity Sports
Title: President
Age: 39
Where born: Los Angeles
Education: University of California, Berkeley (B.A), Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Career background: IFILM, Wasserman Media Group, Diamond Ridge Ventures, Relativity Sports
Family: Wife, Angela Riley; daughters Avah and Oona

Favorite apps: Stitcher, ESPN ScoreCenter.
Favorite way to unwind: Backyard basketball.
Guilty pleasure: Berry cobbler.
Worst habit: Extreme impatience.
Group supported: UCLA American Indian Studies Center.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Sepp Blatter.
I have a fear of … : Open-air heights.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Backpack across Eastern Europe pre-Internet.
2014 will be a good year if … : The family is healthy and happy.


COURTESY OF RELATIVITY SPORTS

When Happy Walters was looking for someone to run the new sports division of film and television studio Relativity Media, Josh Swartz was his first choice.

It was a big job, managing 60 employees and agents who represent 400 athlete clients, including some of the biggest stars in the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. Relativity

SBJ Podcast:
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.

Media had just launched Relativity Sports in the summer of 2012, and the job of president was a much coveted one. But Walters, CEO of Relativity Sports and co-COO of Relativity Media, knew he wanted someone with a diverse skill set.

“What makes Josh successful is he is a guy who can hang with an athlete and play basketball and have that kind of vibe, but also is very smart, very analytical and a great businessman,” Walters said. “Sometimes, someone is great at one, but not both.”

Swartz had been COO of Wasserman Media Group but was managing partner of Diamond Ridge Ventures, an investment fund that provides capital for sports, events and sports media ventures, when Walters offered him the job early last year. Walters convinced Swartz to take the job based in a large part on Relativity’s unique platform.

In the year that’s followed, Swartz has integrated the former SFX Baseball and the former Maximum Sports Management as well as the practice of NBA player agent Dan Fegan into Relativity Sports. Swartz also has been working on how to cross-platform between Relativity Media’s vast entertainment assets and its growing sports client practice. Some examples of that include producing a documentary on Relativity Baseball client Mariano Rivera and using NBA clients Dwight Howard, Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert, among others, in a trailer for a parody movie titled “The Relativity Avengerables.”

The goal, Swartz said, is to create intellectual property with and for athletes. “We think it’s in their best interests,” he said, “to diversify out of their current paradigm, which is ‘I have a player contract and make some marketing money on the side.’”

— Liz Mullen

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