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Volume 21 No. 1

Marketing and Sponsorship

CAA Sports has acquired Inside Sports & Entertainment Group, giving the sports and entertainment agency a new line of business in corporate hospitality.

InsideSEG will keep its name for now but operate as part of CAA Sports. Founders Alan Baum and Ety Rybak and their partners Jim Zissler and Jason Zinna will continue to run the agency but will now report to CAA Sports co-heads Michael Levine and Howard Nuchow.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Baum and Rybak founded InsideSEG in 2004 in New York, and the company has built partnerships with teams, leagues, venues and properties around the world. The firm offers corporate hospitality and customized experiences to sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby and the Masters. Its clients are a mix of high-net-worth individuals and companies that include Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Verizon, Merrill Lynch and American Express.

CAA Sports has done business with the firm for years. The deal came out of that ongoing business relationship.

“It’s a new sales offering for us,” Levine said last week. “We have never been in the business of providing or fulfilling straight experiential opportunities for individuals or to corporate buyers.”

InsideSEG’s strength in corporate hospitality opens new doors for CAA Sports, CAA’s Michael Levine (below) says.
InsideSEG will continue to operate out of its office in Manhattan as well as take space in CAA’s New York and other offices.

“My dream was always to own my own business, and I thought I was going to do this forever, but the opportunity to work with CAA … is unbelievable,” Baum said. “I always think of my customers first, so what can I do to increase the breadth of the product, how can I enhance the experience? But with the access CAA has … it was a no-brainer.”

For CAA Sports, the deal provides a new offering from its talent representation, corporate consulting and property sales divisions.

Photo by: CAA

“This acquisition is a really nice complement to what we are doing in several areas of our existing business,” Levine said. “We think this enhances our talent sales business. We think this can help feed our property sales business and we think it can help grow our corporate consulting practice. And those three enhancements are all on top of Alan’s core business that we believe is rapidly growing on its own.”

CAA Sports’ sports property clients include the San Francisco 49ers, Madison Square Garden, FC Barcelona, the U.S. Tennis Association and the NCAA. Its corporate consulting clients include JPMorgan Chase, Emirates, Time Warner Cable, Farmers Insurance and Mitsubishi Electric.

“We think that Alan and InsideSEG can help those businesses to grow, because he is in between the two, so to speak,” Levine said of corporate consulting and property sales.

Some of InsideSEG’s corporate customers could potentially hire CAA Sports to assist on their overall sports strategy, Levine said. InsideSEG has provided corporate hospitality services to CAA Sports corporate clients, and CAA Sports has provided InsideSEG with athletes for events.

Levine also expects to develop new events with InsideSEG using CAA talent.

“One event we are excited about launching is a custom event that we will create with our comedy department, and it will be a special event that we will set up at next year’s Super Bowl to come and see a private VIP event that will feature CAA comedy clients,” Levine said. “It will be something that Alan provides access to for his Super Bowl customers. We think there are dozens and dozens of ways we can serve our CAA talent clients while also providing great experiences and new experiences for Alan’s customer base.”

Wasserman Media Group has opened a new office in Dubai that will focus on corporate consulting and events in golf, and potentially other sports.

David Collins, an Englishman who has six years of agency experience in the United Arab Emirates, joined Wasserman last week and will lead the new UAE office. He will carry the title of senior vice president.

The intention, according to Wasserman principal Malcolm Turner, is to develop more global sports marketing business, primarily in the Middle East, from this Dubai office.

Without getting into specifics, Turner said the office will open with “a firm base of business in golf and will be building out an appropriate staff to service it.”

Wasserman’s new business will be in the areas of corporate consulting, event management and athlete representation and marketing.

Turner, who oversaw the formation of the new UAE site, said Wasserman UAE will seek new business “in golf and beyond,” including media rights, soccer and other sports.

“This is a Wasserman office, not a Wasserman Golf office,” Turner said.

Most of Collins’ experience has been centered in golf. At WSM Communications and previously Leisurecorp, he contributed to several high-profile initiatives, including the European Tour’s seasonlong “Race to Dubai” and Rory McIlroy’s endorsement deal with Jumeirah Hotels, which expired last season when Nike took a head-to-toe position with the golfer.

Collins was employed from 2000 to 2008 at Octagon, where he worked on golf accounts for MasterCard, HSBC and Coca-Cola, among others.

Opening an office in Dubai continues Wasserman’s push to establish a more global presence. The company’s primary offices outside of the U.S. are in London, Singapore, São Paulo and Mumbai.

“We see prospects for real business in Dubai and, more broadly, the UAE,” Turner said. “This is not a speculative undertaking, as there is a true business underpinning to this venture. And in David, we have an ideal partner to lead the growth of our business. He’s built a nice relationship base in the region.”