CAA is making its biggest bet on sports media, yet, and has formed a new unit called CAA Sports Media Venture, and funding it to buy and operate companies in the space. It has tapped Chris Bevilacqua, co-founder of CSTV Networks, as the CEO of this venture. The new unit is a three way partnership between CAA, Bevilacqua and Evolution Media Capital, a PE firm formed by Bob Stanley earlier this year after he left Merrill Lynch...this will operate independently of CAA's existing sports talent unit, which reps about 350 sports athletes.
Bevilacqua will control two seats on the new venture's board, with CAA also controlling two and Evolution one. The unit will look at sports media companies in cable, online and mobile sectors, Bevilacqua told SBJ. Prior to joining this, Bevilacqua was working as a partner at SCP Worldwide, the NYC-based sports and entertainment management firm, where Bevilacqua was instrumental in preparing a deal to have SCP buy 80 percent of soccer channel GolTV, for $200 million. The deal fell through, but the Spanish-language soccer network still is on the block, and could be one of the companies this new venture could look at. In fact, GolTV was just dropped by DishTV, and its valuation is probably even lower now than ever. Bevilacqua will remain an investor with SCP Worldwide...he left CSTV in 2006, after its sale to CBS.
CAA recently forayed into sports media, and incubated and invested in WePlay, a social network for pre-high school sports. The venture includes CAA-repped athletes including Derek Jeter, Lebron James and Peyton Manning. The thought is that this new sports rollup venture could include of CAA-repped sports talent, especially if it can get its athletes to buy into new acquisitions.
By Rafat Ali