Private equity firm Granite Bridge Partners LLC (“Granite Bridge”) announced today that veteran sports agency, media and private equity executive Chris Lencheski has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of its sports licensing and marketing portfolio company, Winning Streak Sports, LLC. Headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, Winning Streak Sports is a leading licensed premium hard goods product in professional sports and entertainment, and is the industry leader in the sales and marketing of the vintage, retro-trend, dynasty style ultra-premium wool and felt banners, pennants and related fandom with a portfolio of over 1,000 consumer products in their style-book and line-extensions.
Lencheski had been the independent board director appointed by Granite Bridge for the past sixteen months prior to this new appointment at Winning Steak Sports.
“I have enjoyed getting to know the board, employees and the entirety of the Winning Streak Sports ecosystem these past 16 months and am looking forward to this expanded role,” Lencheski said. “Winning Streak Sports’ products are visually pleasing, trend-forward and bring consumer footfall into stores; they are priced to allow our retail and e-commerce partners to be very successful and are positioned to align with consumer transition to the “digital-first” lifestyle in sports & entertainment programming. Finally, the employees of Winning Streak Sports are the reason for this success – they are literally “salt-of-the-earth” genuine people and their love of the products they create and the respect of each other will drive the future.”
“As both a successful entrepreneur and seasoned executive we were excited to have Chris join the Winning Streak Sports Board approximately 16 months ago as an independent director and even more so that he accepted the new responsibility as CEO,” said Michael Goodman, Partner at Granite Bridge. “Chris has impressed us with his deep industry knowledge, strategic thinking and connectivity at the highest levels across leagues, teams, agencies and all-things sports. Moreover, and equally important to Granite Bridge, this commitment includes meaningful equity ownership which was important to both Chris and us. Given ever-expanding exuberant “Fandom”, growing markets and new channels to connect with sports fans and entertainment brand “avids”, we believe there is presently a significant opportunity to acquire and scale companies with premium licensed products in the sports and entertainment CPG vertical.”
With over 20 years of professional sports and entertainment experience, Chris Lencheski has authored industry-setting standards and practice guidelines followed by major entities from network and cable television groups to Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, Chris served as both the Senior Advisor to the Board and Management of global media and commercial rights company, MP & Silva and the Vice-Chairman and CEO of IRG Sports + Entertainment – A TPG Specialty Lending Company, encompassing more than 1,150 motorsports, live entertainment and corporate events annually at their venues and within their global racing series. Lencheski was retained to author and execute the corporate renewal of IRG Sports + Entertainment and under his leadership, IRG Sports + Entertainment expanded into Australia, acquired content from NASCAR to Red Bull Global Rally Cross. Prior to IRGSE, the Syracuse University and Harvard Business School alumnus was President of Comcast-Spectators’ subsidiary Front Row Marketing and Analytics (FRMS) – FRMS was the commercial rights, sponsorship and analytics firm inside the greater Comcast ecosystem of stadiums, arenas, teams and properties. FRMS was acquired by Learfield Sports in 2015. Whilst at Comcast-Spectator’s FRMS, his work included collaborations with the Americas’ Cup, English Premier League, the Olympics, Formula One and World Cup projects as well as a host of international and national properties from every major league to governing bodies. Chris was also a multiple team owner in the NASCAR Sprint and Nationwide Series, as well as owner of International Hockey League franchise; the Quad City Mallards – Affiliate of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers.