Schreiber-Led Group Acquires Outfront Media Sports, Will Rebrand
A group spearheaded by veteran media exec Michael Schreiber, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Access Holdings has acquired Outfront Media Sports, the collegiate multimedia rights holder for LSU, Maryland, Virginia and other schools. Schreiber, the founder, will become CEO of a new full-service sports marketing agency, Playfly Sports, and Outfront's college and high school rights holder business will be rebranded to Playfly Sports Properties. Playfly has acquired two other esports companies -- Collegiate Star League and the World Gaming Network. Terms of the Outfront acquisition were not available. SBJ College reported on Aug. 4 that Outfront’s college business had been for sale for a year and that the asking price had been around $35M, according to industry insiders. But they added that the pandemic had likely eaten into the value of the business because of diminished sales. Outfront, previously known as CBS Collegiate Sports Properties, comes with the multimedia rights to LSU, Maryland, Virginia, New Mexico, Old Dominion, Wichita State, Denver, Troy, Oral Roberts, Oakland and St. Bonaventure. Its high school rights include athletic associations in eight states.
LEADING THE WAY: Schreiber most recently was a general partner at Philadelphia-based SeventySix Capital, where he headed up the sports advisory practice. Previously, he worked at Altice USA, NBCUniversal and Comcast. During his time at Comcast, he was part of the team that developed and launched Hulu in '07. Playfly will be headquartered in Philadelphia. Schreiber said Outfront's senior leadership, which includes three veterans in the college space -- David Johnston, Bill Cartwright and Rich Klein -- will be staying with Playfly. Schreiber envisions Playfly bringing a different, more digitally focused approach to college multimedia rights with an increasingly heavy dose of esports. "There's a big opportunity in a lot of different categories," he said. "We've talked about sports betting, name, image and likeness, digital platforms and content, and esports. They all represent the opportunity to be disruptive in the space."
BOUTIQUE APPROACH: For now, Schreiber likes the idea of being a smaller boutique agency with 11 school clients and a handful of blue-chippers. The college division struggled to grow under the Outfront banner because it wasn't a core piece of the company’s business in outdoor advertising. Schreiber is eager to see what the properties business can do with more resources. He learned about Outfront during a conversation with Kevin McAllister, Managing Partner and founder of Baltimore-based investment firm Access Holdings. That led to another conversation with a mutual friend, Sinclair President & CEO Chris Ripley. Sinclair and Access agreed to invest in the agency that Schreiber founded and unveiled today. "I'm probably going to think about the business a little differently than where some people have come from in the past," Schreiber said. "We're really going to lean forward when it comes to innovation and digital platforms, as well as esports, which is built into our nucleus." Playfly has hired former Flyers and Nerd Street Gamers exec Rob Johnson to be CEO of the combined esports business.