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Volume 22 No. 35
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What’s next for Home Team Sports?

Home Team Sports — the Fox Sports-owned sales unit — will not be affected by Disney’s plans to sell Fox’s regional sports networks. That’s the view of HTS President Kyle Sherman, who points out that his group sells national advertising for all RSNs, not just the ones that used to be owned by Fox.

“Whoever buys the RSNs will continue to be our customer,” Sherman said. “There’s no other company that does what Home Team Sports does. There’s nobody else to pick up the slack.”

For example, when the Los Angeles Dodgers left Fox Sports-owned Prime Ticket to sign a local media rights deal with Time Warner Cable in 2013, it still used HTS to sell its advertising.

The sale of Fox’s RSNs comes as HTS has diversified its business into naming rights. When HTS was trying to sell the naming rights to the Los Angeles Coliseum last year, it brought in Denver-based Impression Sports and Entertainment to help it complete a sale to United Airlines.

HTS executives were so impressed with the way that Impression’s business strategy around naming rights complemented its strategy around selling advertising for RSNs that it bought the company. For Sherman, the two companies shared the same goal: connecting brands to fans.

Now, 15 months later, it’s easy to see why HTS was so enamored with Impression. Over the summer, it sold title sponsorships to three college football bowl games in 21 days: the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, the Servpro First Responder Bowl and the Cheez-It Bowl. Impression also is working with Auburn and the University of Colorado on naming-rights deals.

“There’s a lot of cross-over relationships between us,” Sherman said. “When you go into a meeting with us and Impression, it leads to other good conversations. [Impression Sports President Chris Foy] can talk about a completely different set of rights.”