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Volume 24 No. 158

Events and Attractions

The NFL has expanded its annual media buyer fantasy football draft night into a three-day, fan-facing festival slated for Aug. 22-24 in N.Y. featuring daily seminars on fantasy football. The event, carrying a presenting sponsorship from DirecTV, is aimed in part at promoting fantasy offerings, as well as the satellite TV distributor's "NFL Sunday Ticket," popular among fantasy players. Slated to appear are several former NFLers including Marcus Allen, Kordell Stewart, Eddie George, along with and NFL Network talent. Footage from the event will run on both league media platforms. Free tickets will be distributed through, with capacity at the Best Buy Theater capped at about 600 for each of the six separate sessions scheduled over three days. "This really seemed like the next logical step to take this event," said NFL Digital Media Dir of Programming & Production Tom Brady. "The DirecTV and Fantasy tie-ins are complete lay-ups, and we think will become a regular part of the NFL calendar to celebrate the return of the season and the return of fantasy." Other corporate sponsors for the event include Sears, Marriott and Electronic Arts. The media buyer fantasy football draft, now in its seventh year as an invite-only event for league clients, remains part of the enlarged program and will be held Thursday.

Celtics and Serie A club AS Roma investor James Pallotta “is investing in Spartan Race Inc., which runs a new breed of obstacle-race events that involve climbing walls, slogging through mud, and crawling under barbed wire,” according to Beth Healy of the BOSTON GLOBE. The investment by Pallotta's Raptor Capital Management is being made “through a Raptor venture capital fund that backs start-ups.” This is the fund’s “third deal, all in the $2 million to $10 million range.” Spartan Race was founded in ’10 by Joe DeSena, and the company now has about “50 employees and 40 events a year with names like Beast and the Death Race.” The entry level event is the Spartan Sprint, a three-mile event featuring "some 15 hard-core obstacles (including human battering rams).” Spartan Race makes money “primarily from entry fees of $100 to $150 per event, amounts that about 350,000 racers will pay this year to compete, as well as from sponsorships.” A Spartan Sprint event is scheduled for Nov. 17-18 at Fenway Park. DeSena will move the Spartan Race HQs “to Boston from Pittsfield, Vt.,” and Raptor Consumer Partners Managing Dir John Burns will “join the board.” In addition to the “hedge fund and venture fund, Raptor has a sports management business that includes Pallotta” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/20).