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Volume 26 No. 142
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Investment Leaders Discuss Capitalizing On Sports Properties

Bidarian (l) is bullish on sports remaining a great bet despite increased choices for consumers
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
Bidarian (l) is bullish on sports remaining a great bet despite increased choices for consumers
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN
Bidarian (l) is bullish on sports remaining a great bet despite increased choices for consumers
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN

Investment opportunities in sports was a key focus for a morning panel at the '19 SBJ Dealmakers in Sports conference. Causeway Media Founding Partner Mark Wan, a Celtics and 49ers investor, joined BAVAFA Founder Nakisa Bidarian, who was previously with UFC and Fertitta Capital, on stage to discuss their extensive backgrounds in the investment world and how they came to be involved in sports properties. Bidarian, who helped guide the sale of UFC to WME in '16, attributed the explosion of the MMA outfit's value to its long-range focus, brand evolution and media partnerships, which at that time were Fox (U.S.), Globo (Brazil) and BT (U.K.). "When we exited, the best part of the story is the sport has continued to grow," he said.

ON THE UP & UP: Both Bidarian and Wan addressed how sports fit into the growing list of entertainment options available. While they recognized the rapidly growing number of choices for consumers, Bidarian was bullish on sports remaining a great bet. "I have 100 percent conviction that sports is going to continue to be important and become the most valuable content," he said. "There is literally no other form of content that’s true and real, captures human ability and brings community together."

BET PAYING OFF: Wan called his investment in the Celtics in '02 the most impactful one he has made. "I was naïve to professional sports both as an industry and for investment purposes until that opportunity came along," he said. "My friends were saying, ‘Boy, those are really expensive season tickets you just bought. What were you thinking?’ It changed the course of my career. I was a Silicon Valley tech investor and now I’m doing sports and I’m in multiple teams."