American Cornhole League and Legends Announce Multi-Year Strategic Partnership

Legends to manage partnerships and business intelligence for the growing league

The American Cornhole League (ACL), the worldwide governing body for professional, competitive, and recreational cornhole, and Legends, a data-intelligence fueled global premium experiences company, announced today a strategic multi-year partnership centered around driving commercial growth for the league. As part of the new partnership, Legends will manage a global, data-driven partnership strategy for ACL and provide business intelligence with actionable insights to drive revenue across all areas of the burgeoning league.

The ACL will tap into multiple areas of Legends’ intelligence-fueled 360-degree service solutions as part of the comprehensive partnership. As such, the ACL joins a growing list of partners for Legends Growth Enterprises division, which launched earlier this year. Legends Growth Enterprises focuses on leveraging the company’s 360-degree service solution to support sports and entertainment properties, attractions, events, and platforms that are positioned for accelerated growth.

Since launching in 2016 the ACL has become one of the fastest growing sports in the world, with broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS / CBS Sports. The league’s tagline “Anyone can play and anyone can win” along with its ability to be played anywhere has the league on a fast track for success.  The ACL hosts a variety of pro and amateur events, including its popular “SuperHole” series which pairs ACL Pros alongside celebrities for a made-for-TV experience.

“As our sport and league continues to grow across the country and the globe we’re aiming to scale up and expand our revenue base and are excited to partner with Legends to drive insights that will allow us to do just that,” said Stacey Moore, Founder of American Cornhole League. “Their expertise and assistance will help us to take the ACL to the next level and beyond.”

“What Stacey and his team have built with the American Cornhole League is impressive – taking it from the backyard to major television networks and now into the global spotlight in a relatively short time,” said Gabby Roe, President of Legends Growth Enterprises. “Cornhole is forging a legacy as the world’s favorite new pastime accessible to all audiences. We are excited to work closely with the ACL to deliver solutions and expertise to support the league’s continued growth.”

Citi Becomes Championship Partner of Notre Dame Athletics and Title Partner of Citi Shamrock Classic

– The Inaugural Citi Shamrock Classic Basketball Game will be Held in St. Louis on Saturday, Nov. 12, Featuring the Fighting Irish vs. the California Golden Bears; Airing as the First Ever Live Broadcast of Women’s College Basketball on NBC and Peacock –

Notre Dame Global Partnerships (NDGP), the multimedia rightsholder for the University of Notre Dame Athletics Department, today announced Citi as a new Championship Partner. As part of the sponsorship, Citi will also be the title partner of the first annual Citi Shamrock Classic basketball game airing live on NBC and Peacock on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 4:00 p.m. ET.

The Citi Shamrock Classic will include a weekend of basketball and thought leadership conversations on gender equity and women’s athletics. The day before the game, Citi and Notre Dame will host a luncheon infused with marquee speakers from the realm of business and women’s athletics. Citi’s new collaboration with Notre Dame will also create avenues throughout the year to amplify the joint commitment to elevate women’s athletics. Some of the promotional opportunities include digital content; television and radio promotion; and Citi’s participation in programs designed to close the gender gap in collegiate sports and across industries through workshops, speaker series and comprehensive mentorship of women student-athletes.

Held in St. Louis at the Enterprise Center, the Citi Shamrock Classic will see the Fighting Irish, who made the 2022 Sweet Sixteen under Karen & Kevin Keyes Family head coach Niele Ivey, face off against the California Golden Bears, led by Coach Charmin Smith. The showdown will mark the first live broadcast of a women’s college basketball game on NBC. The game is a homecoming for both head coaches as they both grew up in St. Louis. As a junior, Ivey led Cor Jesu Academy to its first state title before going on to play for Notre Dame and winning the 2001 National Championship in St. Louis. Cal’s Smith dominated the hardwood at Ladue Horton Watkins before appearing in three consecutive Final Fours with the Stanford Cardinal.

“I would like to thank Citi for the opportunity to showcase our women’s basketball program on this major stage in the inaugural Citi Shamrock Classic,” Ivey said. “This is a full circle moment to come back home to St. Louis where my basketball journey began. It’s an overwhelming feeling to think about the positive impact this will have in my community and for our sport. I hope to continue to inspire and empower the next generation of young leaders and athletes.”

“Citi has a proud history of working with partners who share our commitment to advance gender equity, so the opportunity to work with an institution shaping the next generation makes this even more rewarding,” said Ed Skyler, Head of Global Public Affairs, Citi. “We are excited about this new partnership with Notre Dame Athletics, and we will continue to support programs, like women’s basketball, that have been underrepresented for far too long.”

“We look forward to presenting the inaugural Citi Shamrock Classic and showcasing to a national audience on NBC and Peacock Notre Dame’s storied women’s basketball program in their game against Cal,” said Gary Quinn, Vice President, Programming, NBC Sports.

Game tickets for the Citi Shamrock Classic will go on sale to the general public on Friday, Sept. 23, at www.enterprisecenter.com/shamrock.

Legends Names Kirta Carroll as President of Global Merchandise

Legends, a global data-intelligence fueled premium experiences company, announced today the appointment of Kirta Carroll as President of the company’s Global Merchandise division.  Carroll brings a strong retail and marketing background, joining Legends after more than a decade at Foot Locker.

Carroll will lead Legends’ growing Global Merchandise division, which is a fully integrated vertical solution operating brick and mortar, pop-ups, e-commerce, and in-venue retail experiences for renowned brands such as the NFL, MLB, PGA, NASCAR, UFC, Activision Blizzard and global tentpole events including Super Bowl LVI, 2019 Rugby World Cup, and 2016 Olympics.

“Kirta is a strategic leader with a great depth of omnichannel retail and merchandise experience,” said Mike Tomon, Co-President and COO, Legends. “She brings a successful track record developing and leading merchandising, vendor, and consumer strategy to drive long term sustainability, growth, and scale. We are excited for her to join Legends and lead our Global Merchandise team as we continue to build upon the incredible business success of this past year.”

Legends Global Merchandise has grown substantially in the last 12 months, netting more than 20 new clients, including PGA, PFL, Cirque du Soleil, Madison Square Garden, Indiana University, Century 21 and setting merchandise per cap and sales records for 2022 Indianapolis 500, PGA Championship, Super Bowl LVI, UFC International Fight Week, MLB at Field of Dreams and more.

“I am thrilled to join the team of leaders at Legends and to continue to advance and accelerate our bespoke premium retail offerings while serving fans and consumers where they shop, buy, and intersect with our clients’ brands,” said Carroll.

Prior to joining Legends, Carroll spent 11 years at Foot Locker in increasingly broader roles. She most recently served as Vice President and Global General Merchandising Manager for the women’s division where she led the global footwear and apparel business across Foot Locker’s portfolio of brands. Before her product leadership role, Carroll led marketing for women’s focused retail concepts at Foot Locker, including strategic positioning and brand development, social media and ecommerce strategies, in-store merchandising and visuals. Carroll has a strong marketing background, having spent time working at marketing agencies across multiple industries as well as holding a position in public relations and marketing at Saks Fifth Avenue earlier in her career.  

Allstate Expands its College Football Footprint with Notre Dame and NBC Sports Partnership

Notre Dame Global Partnerships (NDGP), the multimedia rightsholder for the University of Notre Dame Athletics Department, today announced an expanded multiyear affiliation with the Allstate (NYSE: ALL) Corporation, which will become a Championship Partner of the program. Through its enhanced partnership, Allstate and Notre Dame will collaborate on new community focused initiatives as well as virtually displaying its digital branding on field goal nets during Notre Dame Football broadcasts on NBC and Peacock.

“We’re excited to deepen our relationship with Allstate, a leading brand in sports and their industry,” said University of Notre Dame Vice President and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick. “Having the opportunity to bring together two of our great partners, NBC and Allstate, that support collegiate athletics at the highest levels was something we couldn’t pass up.”

In addition to Allstate’s unique in-game digitally infused field goal nets during home games, the brand will appear on physical nets at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on October 8 when Notre Dame takes on BYU in the 2022 Shamrock Series on NBC and Peacock.

“As Allstate kicks off its 17th year supporting college football nationwide, we could not be more excited to partner with one of the sport’s most iconic brands: the Notre Dame Fighting Irish,” said Allstate’s Director of Sponsorships and Consumer Engagement, Dan Keats.

“We’re excited to welcome Allstate as a fully-integrated partner into our Notre Dame Football broadcasts, expanding from advertisements to virtual on-field signage and presenting partner of our halftime show,” said Peter Lazarus, EVP, Ad Sales, NBC Sports. “This is the perfect example of how our three-decade relationship with Notre Dame can bring Championship-level benefits to sponsors, viewers and fans.”

Notre Dame Global Partnerships, a joint venture between Legends and JMI Sports, facilitated the partnership.

Northwestern Athletics and Legends enter Multi-Year Partnership

Comprehensive Collaboration Includes Premium Seating, Ticket Sales,

Marketing, and Business Intelligence for Wildcats Athletics

Northwestern University Athletics and Legends, a global premium experiences company, today announced a multi-year partnership that will enhance the fan experience at Wildcats’ sporting events and maximize Northwestern Athletics revenue generation through a streamlined, data-driven sales approach. As part of the overarching agreement, Legends will manage premium seating, ticket sales, marketing and business intelligence for football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and other ticketed Northwestern varsity sports.

“We are excited to launch this comprehensive partnership with an unparalleled industry leader as we expand our sales and marketing infrastructure,” said Northwestern’s Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Dr. Derrick Gragg. “Our external team led by Sr. Associate Athletic Director, Tyler Jones along with Legends’ expertise will immediately position Northwestern Athletics to deliver an enhanced experience to our fans and allow us to generate critical additional resources to support the holistic development of Wildcats student-athletes.”

Legends will also support Northwestern Athletics in its approach to optimizing revenue generation and curating experiences for all fans as part of the University’s efforts to reimagine and rebuild Ryan Field, inclusive of premium product development and pricing, corporate hospitality, premium seating and ticket sales. Northwestern Athletics initially engaged Legends in 2021 through its research arm, CSL, to conduct a comprehensive study on improving the overall fan experience, which included a survey and series of focus groups to solicit direct feedback from ticket holders, alumni, and other fans. Additionally, Legends Project Development and CSL are supporting the ongoing, exploratory project planning for the new Ryan Field initiative.

“Legends has proven to be an invaluable partner since our collaboration began in 2021, and we are excited to introduce the Legends Way to the Wildcats community,” said Deputy Director of Athletics Jesse Marks. “Their robust sales, data analytics and proven facility development expertise will greatly enhance Northwestern Athletics’ reach within the University, Evanston and greater Chicagoland communities, providing an innovative experience and a first-class level of service throughout the sales and development process.”

“The college athletics landscape is rapidly evolving, and Northwestern University has fully embraced what it takes to be on the leading edge of the sports fan experience today—and into the future,” said Michael Behan, Chief Operating Officer, Collegiate Partnerships, Legends. “We are excited to partner with such a renowned university and athletics program and to leverage our expertise and development strategy to help invigorate and enhance the experience for the Wildcats’ community and supporters.” 

The latest collaboration bolsters Legends’ position as the leader in advising university athletic departments on identifying opportunities to enhance fan experiences and optimize revenue streams on new and renovated facility projects, having partnered on University of Notre Dame, University of Oklahoma, University of Southern California, Villanova University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Utah, and San Diego State University, amongst others.

Legends Appoints Top Marketing Executives

Melvin Lenzy Named Chief Brand & Innovation Officer

Matt O’Neil Named Chief Content & Experience Officer

Legends announced today the appointment of two sports and entertainment industry executives to oversee marketing, creative, content, communications and events for the growing global data-intelligence fueled premium experiences company. Melvin Lenzy has joined as Chief Brand & Innovation Officer and Matt O’Neil as Chief Content & Experience Officer.

“With the accelerated growth of Legends global business, we are excited to have Melvin and Matt, two talented executives with deep industry experience, join to further advance and innovate the overall marketing efforts for our company and on behalf of our clients,” said Mike Tomon, Co-President and Chief Operating Officer, Legends.

Collectively, Lenzy and O’Neil will manage marketing, creative, content, communications and events for the company, each focusing on different business verticals with the collective goal of helping drive business growth and revenue across all areas. They will work closely with Legends’ clients to provide marketing and branding consulting to heighten the customer experience, as well as develop revenue generating strategies to optimize awareness and sales.

Lenzy is a 25+ year business, brand and strategic marketing veteran and has been the brand architect of some of the world’s biggest brand marketing campaigns. He has driven strategic business and marketing initiatives for iconic sports brands EA Sports, Konami, NBA2K, The National Football League, and NIKE, where he spent 15 years of his career. Prior to joining Legends, Lenzy was the Global Head of Marketing for the NBA2K Franchise at 2K Sports.

A seasoned sports and entertainment executive, O’Neil’s vast branding, content and marketing experience spans top professional sports teams and leagues, brands, and university athletic departments. He previously oversaw all facets of marketing, media and content creation, and game entertainment for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Red Bulls, and for the past five years ran his own content and marketing agency, Ichi Go, where he worked with the New York Jets, Boston Celtics, New Jersey Devils, Ohio State, and Genesis Motor America, among others.

Teamtrak Cycling League and Legends Announce Strategic Partnership

Legends to Manage Sponsorship Sales, Omnichannel Merchandise and

Make Minority Investment in Startup League

TeamTrak Cycling League, an entity of World Cycling Limited, and Legends announced a strategic partnership today to support the launch and growth of the startup indoor cycling league. The partnership spans revenue-generating sponsorship sales and omnichannel merchandise services as well as a minority investment in TeamTrak by Legends, a data-intelligence fueled global premium experiences company. TeamTrak is an innovative, proprietary format of indoor velodrome racing that will launch with a four-event tour at U.S. arenas in 2023.

A team-oriented head-to-head track racing series, TeamTrak gives fans a front row seat to high-energy bike racing, pitting teams of men and women against each other in a heart-pumping indoor velodrome format. The new event series will also feature state-of-the-art technology designed to elevate the fan experience including real time scoring and athlete stats like speed, power output and heart rate as well as on board cameras. TeamTrak is the first privately owned and funded indoor track cycling league based upon a single entity league ownership model and will feature eight location-based teams in year one.

“TeamTrak was developed with a fan-first mentality, reimagining the best elements of track cycling into a fully accessible and easy-to-follow format. Our high energy co-ed team model is specifically designed to appeal to modern American sports fans,” said CEO of World Cycling Limited and two-time Olympic cyclist David Chauner. “We are excited to launch our first season in 2023 using our own portable indoor velodrome. This gives us the ability to bring TeamTrak to hundreds of existing arenas across the country and offers significant expansion potential.”

Legends will manage a data-driven approach for TeamTrak, leveraging data and analytics to provide fan insights and asset valuation to drive sponsorship sales and overall revenue-generating opportunities for the league. As well, Legends will provide broadcast and media rights partnership support for TeamTrak. As TeamTrak grows, the league will have access to all areas of Legends’ intelligence-fueled 360-degree service solutions, including planning, sales, and hospitality to support expansion.

“We are excited to partner with TeamTrak to bring fans and sponsors a modern take on cycling, one of the oldest and most popular sports in the world,” said Gabby Roe, President, Legends Growth Enterprises. “The TeamTrak leadership group has created a competition format that is fan and television friendly, easy to follow and features co-ed teams competing ‘elbow to elbow’ in the most exciting version of track cycling in the world. We see an incredible growth opportunity for the league.”

Earlier this year, Legends launched a Growth Enterprises division focused on leveraging the company’s 360-degree service solution to support sports and entertainment properties, attractions, events, and platforms that are positioned for accelerated development. TeamTrak is Legends’ latest partnership with a high-growth property.

WORLD RUGBY APPOINTS LEGENDS AS OFFICIAL RETAIL PARTNER FOR RUGBY WORLD CUP FRANCE 2023

Following record-breaking official merchandise sales at Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, World Rugby, via their master licensee IMG, has appointed Legends as the Official Retail Partner and operator for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France next year.

Taking place from 8 September until 28 October, the pinnacle event in the men’s fifteens game will build on the phenomenal spectator, media and commercial success of Japan 2019 where Legends served as the Official Retail Partner and operator.

Legends will operate all the official retail stores for Rugby World Cup 2023 in venues and celebration areas located within the host cities. Two flagship stores in Paris and Marseille are also set to open in August 2023. In line with World Rugby’s mission to create an exceptional fan experience, the physical stores will be stocked with merchandise featuring all 20 participating teams, exclusive event memorabilia for men, women and children, as well as a large range of official licensed products including official replica jerseys, and the official Gilbert match ball.

Rugby World Cup 2023 will set new standards in social responsibility, inclusion and sustainability for a major rugby event, with one of four key pillars focusing on respecting and protecting the environment. As the official retail partner, and in line with World Rugby’s Environmental Sustainability Plan 2030, Legends will support all environmental initiatives with the delivery of a retail operation for Rugby World Cup 2023 consistent with the company’s ongoing standards of delivery throughout its global business.

It has been 16 years since France last hosted the tournament, and Rugby World Cup’s 10th edition is expected to be spectacular on and off the pitch. During the tournament’s seven weeks, international fans and the French public will celebrate togetherness in rugby’s 200th birthday year.  (1823-2023).  

World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin said:“Our ambition is to deliver a world-class experience for rugby fans in France in 2023 and Legends will help us achieve that mission, bringing their expertise and comprehensive experience to the table to deliver an outstanding event. Through a network of official retail stores covering all hosts venues and cities, we will innovate together and give fans a tangible memory of what promises to be a spectacular tournament on and off the pitch.”

Legends Vice President of International Retail, Victoria Hawksley added: “Legends is proud of its long-standing relationship with World Rugby, and we are excited to once again bring fans a spectacular retail experience and expansive offerings for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France, a location where Legends has a growing presence and commitment.” 

FORBES: New York Yankees Working With Legends In Search For Inaugural Jersey Patch Sponsor

Via Forbes

The New York Yankees are in the market for a company to serve as its jersey patch sponsor beginning in the 2023 season, the first time Major League Baseball will allow teams to sell space on their uniform sleeves.

The Yankees are working with Legends, a company it own a stake in, to manage the search. Chris Hibbs, president of Legends’ Global Partnerships division, said the Yankees are looking to sign a multi-year deal with a sponsor, but he declined to discuss the potential financial parameters.

Still, Hibbs noted that the Yankees have chosen not to have a naming rights deal for its iconic Yankee Stadium, so the organization is looking at the jersey patch as garnering what a stadium naming rights deal would be for a major sports franchise. The high water mark for stadium naming rights occurred late last year when the Los Angeles Lakers signed a 20-year deal with Crypto.com for a total that could exceed $700 million or $35 million per year.

“I would characterize the investment as a top-tier naming rights-type investment,” Hibbs said. “That’s fairly well known in North America, what a naming rights deal for a top-tier venue in a top-tier market goes for. We have those kinds of ambitions.”

MLB reportedly could generate a combined $350 million to $400 million annually through the sponsor patches for an average of up to $13.3 million per team. But the Yankees would likely get much more than the average considering their presence in the nation’s largest media and financial market, storied history (27 World Series titles) and current success as they have an MLB-best 61-26 record.

The Yankees are valued at $6 billion, according to Forbes, making them the second-most valuable franchise in the world behind the Dallas Cowboys ($6.5 billion). The MLB average franchise value is $2.07 billion.

“I would say from a value perspective, you’re talking about the most successful franchise in maybe global sports, certainly North American sports,” Hibbs said. “They’re recognized universally…They’re a fashion brand to some. They’re an iconic baseball team to others. Putting a brand on the pinstripes for the first time ever is a super unique opportunity.”

The Yankees and Dallas Cowboys founded Legends in 2008, with the company initially focused on running concessions and retail merchandising at their stadiums and other sports venues and entertainment complexes. Since then, Legends has become a major player in the sports business ecosystem and expanded to hospitality, sponsorships and numerous other areas.

Sixth Street, a multi-strategy investment firm with more than $60 billion of assets under management, acquired a majority stake in Legends last year in a deal that valued the company at $1.3 billion. The Yankees and Cowboys now own significant minority interests in Legends.

Legends’ Global Partnerships division, which was formed in February 2020, represents franchises, colleges and venues in naming rights deals, jersey sponsorships, real estate developments, events and other areas. The division’s clients include SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers; Allegiant Stadium, home to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders; and the University of Notre Dame.

For MLB’s jersey patches, Legends has agreed only to work with the Yankees, eschewing any overtures from other clubs. Hibbs is leading the Yankees’ assignment with colleagues Dan Migala, co-president and chief revenue officer of Legends Global Technology Solutions; Doug Smoyer, senior vice president at Legends Global Partnerships; and Chris Foy, executive vice president at Legends Global Partnerships. They will be partnering with several Yankees executives, including Michael J. Tusiani, the organization’s senior vice president of partnerships.

The patches will be 4-by-4 inches on the right or left sleeve of players’ uniforms. In April, the San Diego Padres became the first MLB club to announce a jersey patch, signing a contract with Motorola.

The NHL will allow jersey patches for the first time in the 2022-23 season, while the NBA has had jersey patches since 2017. Boardroom, a media company owned by Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and longtime sports executive Rich Kleiman, reported late last year that the total value of the NBA patches for the 2021-22 season would be $225 million, up from the $100 million that league commissioner Adam Silver envisioned a few years earlier.

For partnership inquiries, please contact Lauren Hutt, lhutt@legends.net

 

IU Partners with Legends to Deliver Expanded and Improved Merchandise Experience to Hoosier Fans

Whether you’re shopping for IU merchandise on-line, in-person, or on game-day, Hoosier fans can look forward to a brand-new, world-class experience.

Today, Indiana University and Legends announced a new multi-year partnership to provide Hoosier fans with the very best in officially licensed Indiana University merchandise in-store, at events and online. Last week, Legends Global Merchandise unveiled its initial line of merchandise offerings for Hoosier fans on-line at https://shop.iuhoosiers.com. Later this summer, Legends Global Merchandise will also re-open the familiar on-site retail shopping options for IU fans in both Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and at the Carmichael Center located across from the Indiana University Sample Gates on Indiana Avenue.

Hoosier fans can look forward to not only a best-in-class shopping experience that includes adidas and other top apparel manufacturers, but also an ever-expanding assortment of merchandise options in the coming weeks and months. Shirts, sweatshirts, hats, outerwear and even memorabilia will be among the offerings both on-line and in-person.

As part of its retail operations efforts, Legends Global Merchandise will also significantly expand to on-site options for Hoosier fans on IU Football gamedays at Memorial Stadium.

“We are excited to partner with Legends to offer Hoosier fans everywhere a new-and-improved experience when it comes to officially licensed Indiana University merchandise,” said IU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Dolson. “The Legends Global Merchandise team has a well-earned reputation for providing fans of all ages with a wide variety of options and a world-class shopping experience, both on-line and in-store.  As an Indianapolis-based company, they also have a first-hand feel for what Hoosier fans want. While I’m excited about what this partnership means for our department, I’m most excited about what it means for our fans who are always so proud to show off their support for IU with what they wear.”  

Added Dan Smith, President, Legends Hospitality: “We are proud to add Indiana University to our growing roster of NCAA partnerships for Legends Global Merchandise. Our team will work closely with IU, using a tailored, data informed approach, to expand the retail product assortment and deliver a best-in-class omnichannel retail experience for Indiana University students, alumni, and fans.”

Legends Global Merchandise is the premier event retail and merchandising company in the world, having worked with some of the top brands in sports and entertainment. The company is building a roster of NCAA partnerships to operate the official athletics department shops, including current partners Purdue University, Ohio State University, Villanova, and Georgia Institute of Technology. As well, this year, Legends Global Merchandise kicked off a partnership to operate merchandise for The College Football Playoffs.

Legends Acquires Minority Stake In American Ultimate Disc League

Via Forbes

Legends, a sports advisory and experiences company co-founded in 2008 by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys, has acquired a minority stake in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The AUDL, which was founded in 2012, has 25 teams in the United States and Canada.

This is the second time Legends has made an equity investment in a sports league. In August 2021, Legends bought an ownership interest in the Professional Fighters League, a mixed martial arts organization.

Legends plans on completing more equity deals in the months and years ahead, primarily in small, recently launched leagues. The AUDL transaction is part of a strategy Legends has implemented since the company earlier this year acquired Maestroe Sports & Entertainment, a consulting and services company focused on so-called “high growth” leagues that are in their early states or have the potential to grow.

As part of that Maestroe deal, Legends launched its Legends Growth Enterprises division, through which the company invests in leagues and helps them with their sponsorships, media rights deals, merchandising and other areas.

Maestroe had been advising the AUDL since 2019, but this expands the relationship through the equity stake and providing more services such as merchandise, data analytics and possibly expanding to other countries.

“This is a very real world example of how now being a part of Legends, we’re able to do so much more for the AUDL than we previously would’ve been able to when we were just Maestroe,” said Gabby Roe, the president of Legends Growth Enterprises who founded Maestroe in 2012. “This is showcasing the vision we had for this Legends Growth Enterprises division.”

Roe would not disclose financial details of the AUDL investment. But a group led by Rob Lloyd, the former president at Cisco Systems CSCO -1.8% Inc., will hold a majority ownership stake in the AUDL. That group had bought a 90% stake in the league in December 2012.

Meanwhile, Steve Hall will remain the AUDL’s chief executive and commissioner. Hall, who started playing Ultimate in 1985 as a sophomore at Georgia Tech, worked for 13 years for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup C -0.1% and launched his own private-equity firm in 2011. He got involved in the AUDL in 2016 when he became co-owner of the league’s team in Atlanta. Two years later, he was named CEO and commissioner.

“I tell people this was the great opportunity of a lifetime where my hobby, my passion for playing Ultimate, comes together with my business acumen in terms of building companies and being in the private equity world,” Hall said. “I still have some private investments that I have on the side, but I’m pretty passive with those now. This is absolutely my full-time. I’m back to 12 to 14 hour days. I feel like I’m back to Goldman Sachs all over again, but like they say, it’s not a job if you enjoy what you’re doing, and I definitely am enjoying it. I’m fully active and fully engaged seven days per week.”

Since its founding 10 years ago, the AUDL has grown from 10 to 25 teams. The regular season runs from late April through late July, with each team playing 12 games. The games are usually on Saturday nights, but some are on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. The top 11 teams advance to the playoffs, culminating with a championship weekend on Aug. 26 and 27 at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, Wisc.

Players in the league receive a small stipend and have their uniforms and travel costs covered, separating it from other Ultimate leagues where players pay to compete. The teams also each have a physician, trainer and health and services manager that can help them train and recover from injuries. About 90% of the AUDL players are former college players who now have full-time jobs while the others are current college students.

Each team is independently owned and generates revenue through ticket sales, merchandise, concessions, local sponsorships and youth camps and clinics.

The AUDL’s league office, meanwhile, earns money primarily through national sponsorships and media and data deals. The league has a contract with Fox Sports, with the network’s Fox Sports 2 cable channel airing AUDL games on Saturday nights and showing replays on Wednesday nights. It also has its own streaming service, AUDL.tv, where fans can pay $9.99 per month to watch all the games.

In April, the AUDL signed a five-year deal LSports Data, an Israeli firm that will have access to AUDL’s player and game data and create gambling products for companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

Hall is looking to expand the AUDL’s betting deals and get into video games, non-fungible tokens, customized discs, shirts and gear and other areas. The AUDL plans on working with Legends’ technology group that specializes in collecting and analyzing customer data.

“We can make a lot smarter decisions in how we market and advertise to those people,” Hall said. “Now we have a lot more data behind us when we go and talk to a sponsor, discuss the breakdown and why the sponsor might really like the clientele of the AUDL.”

Last year, Sixth Street, an investment firm, acquired a majority stake in Legends that valued the company at $1.3 billion. Legends works with clients in professional and college sports and entertainment, helping them with business plans, sponsorships, arena naming rights, hospitality and numerous other areas.

“What we see Legends being able to do is they provide a level of service that we wouldn’t be able to touch for years and years,” Hall said. “We’re too small for the Legends’ typical clientele. The fact that they are excited to look at the emerging sports they think could be the next big thing and they want to partner with us is terrific. We think they’re going to really help raise our profile and provide high-quality talent at scale, which we wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise.”