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Volume 20 No. 45
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Ascendent acquires Kane’s firm

RSE Ventures’ Ascendent Sports Group has acquired Victory Sports Marketing and will add its two clients, U.S. Olympic Committee sponsors Deloitte and USG, to its consulting roster.

Victory’s sole proprietor, veteran sports marketer Gordon Kane, joins as group vice president for international business. He will remain in Chicago.

Created by RSE Ventures co-owners Stephen Ross and Matt Higgins, New York-based Ascendent was created to serve RSE’s portfolio of sports companies and develop its own marketing business. Last summer, CEO Bob Brennfleck hired Doug Hall as senior vice president to launch its consulting arm, and signed Elite 11 high school quarterback competition operator Student Sports as its first client.

The deal reunites Hall and Kane, who worked together at the USOC’s marketing division in the late 1990s. While Kane has run a solo shop since 2001, he said he was looking for a larger home to service Deloitte and USG, a building supplies manufacturer.

Hall said the Olympic world is a logical early area of emphasis for Ascendent’s consulting business, because of RSE’s involvement in international soccer. RSE owns the International Champions Cup.

Deloitte, whose rights deal with Team USA runs through 2020, is among the firms considering a worldwide rights deal with the International Olympic Committee if the IOC opens the professional services category. Kane declined to comment on that storyline, only acknowledging that Deloitte is reconsidering its Olympic strategy.

USG’s deal with the USOC expires this year.