ACE Media, the trailblazing content development and production subsidiary of the NFL Players Association, today announced a strategic investment by Allied Global Marketing, the leading entertainment, sports and lifestyle marketing agency. This groundbreaking partnership will arm ACE Media with additional capital, production capabilities, and sales and marketing resources to accelerate the company’s growth and expand the scope of content opportunities for athletes, distribution networks and brand partners.
Allied Sports, the sports division of Allied Global Marketing, which connects advertisers and publishers with consumers through unique sports-related branded content, will serve as the exclusive sales and partner development agency for ACE Media. Through a previously announced partnership between ACE Media and Allied Sports, Allied Global Marketing and its parent company, Belmont Capital, saw firsthand the unmatched potential of what ACE Media could do, and quickly decided to double down with a significant investment in its future.
“A rising new media powerhouse, ACE Media is changing the sports-lifestyle content business by building it around the athletes,” said Clint Kendall, CEO of Allied Global Marketing. “More than ever, athletes are taking greater control of their brands, all while fan affinity – fueled by connectivity, social media and athlete-centric industries such as fantasy sports and video gaming – has shifted toward players and away from teams and leagues that have historically been the center of fan focus.”
Sean Barror, Managing Director of Allied Sports, added, “Brands have correspondingly begun to transfer their spending from traditional programs and platforms toward player-first opportunities that are more authentic, personal and valuable to consumers. With unrivaled access to players and proprietary events, and the ability to identify and develop untold stories, unknown passions and unexplored interests within the athlete community, ACE Media is leading this evolution and stands ready to mine untapped athlete-driven sports-lifestyle content opportunities for all media platforms.”
ACE Media’s services and capabilities span all phases of the content creation process, including creative development, athlete procurement, a full suite of production services and distribution. Since it’s founding by the NFLPA in late 2015, ACE Media’s revenue has grown over 500%.
“We take a different approach to the sports content business by building it around the athletes and leveraging the content revolution that’s occurred over the past decade, in which audiences are consuming content in vastly different ways and their expectations regarding access and authenticity have changed alongside their viewing habits,” said ACE Media CEO Scott Langerman.
“ACE Media has been built through access, trust, and authenticity. There’s nothing else like it in sports media. The players are thrilled that Allied Global Marketing sees the potential of ACE, and is choosing to invest in both the business and in us as athletes,” said Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. “With Allied’s support, there is unlimited opportunity to develop a new range of content partnerships and programs which will continue to reveal our passions, interests and stories – we can’t wait to see what’s next.”
As a subsidiary of the NFLPA, ACE Media is uniquely positioned to leverage the NFLPA’s exclusive group player licensing rights. Importantly, however, despite being owned by NFL players, the scope of ACE Media’s content initiatives extends beyond football and incorporates athletes in all sports, both domestic and international. To date, ACE Media has developed content projects featuring NBA, NHL and MLB players, among others, and is currently working closely with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association as the team prepares to defend its World Cup title this summer. The media company is designed to access professional athletes at scale to create a year-round stream of compelling player-driven content projects across all platforms.
In just over three years in business, ACE Media has produced, created or facilitated over 2,000 pieces of content featuring more than 1,500 athletes, and has collaborated with over 50 different brands and partners, including CBS, FOX, NBC Universal, Amazon, Facebook, Warner Bros., Nike, Fanatics, and EA Sports, among many others.
“We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished, but in truth we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible,” continued Langerman. “Now, with the help and support of our new partners at Allied Global Marketing, Allied Sports and Belmont Capital, we can’t wait to see what lies ahead.”
ACE Media and Allied Sports will have integrated offices in Washington, D.C., Boston, Los Angeles and New York City, where ACE Media has inserted Grant Jones, most recently COO of Lorne Michaels’s digital production company, Above Average, as its Vice President of Content and Partnerships to help coordinate sales and production efforts. Jones is joined in New York by Allied Sports hires Will Blair and Justin Acker, who boast sports sales experience with a variety of industry leaders including Turner, ESPN, and Endeavor.
ACE Media is led by Scott Langerman, a 25-year veteran of the sports and entertainment industries who has held senior positions at Comcast SportsNet and Turner Broadcasting, among other media companies. Allied Sports is headed up by industry veteran and Managing Director, Sean Barror, who’s joined by Managing Partner and Senior Advisor, Mike Sheehan, former Chairman, President and CEO of Hill Holliday and former CEO of Boston Globe Media Partners. In addition to Allied Global Marketing and Allied Sports, Belmont Capital owns numerous other entities in the sports, entertainment and hospitality fields, and is led by CEO Joe O’Donnell who is also the Chairman of Centerplate, Inc.