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Most Influential: Dealmakers

Scott Boras

Founder, Owner and President, Boras Corp.

Arguably the best athlete contract negotiator in sports, Boras continues to set records, negotiating a three-year, $130 million contract for 37-year-old pitcher Max Scherzer with the highest annual average salary in baseball at $43.3 million. Boras draws a media scrum whenever he speaks publicly, and has been and will likely continue to be a voice for players and the MLB Players Association during the lockout.

 

 

Gerry Cardinale

Founder and Managing Partner, RedBird Capital

There might not be a more aggressive firm in sports business than RedBird. The company took a stake in Fenway Sports Group, which is purchasing the Pittsburgh Penguins for some $900 million, and invested in LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Co. Other deals include an investment in Indian cricket and RedBall Acquisition Corp., which is taking SeatGeek public in a $1.35 billion merger.

 

 

Ari Emanuel, Patrick Whitesell, Mark Shapiro

Ari Emanuel

Chief Executive Officer, Endeavor

Patrick Whitesell

Executive Chairman, Endeavor 

Mark Shapiro

President, Endeavor

A long-awaited IPO completed the transformation of Endeavor, which rode a broad blend of talent representation, content creation and event promotion to a $10 billion valuation. A boffo Conor McGregor pay-per-view has the UFC off to its best nine months ever, while the $1.2 billion acquisition of sports betting platform OpenBet gives the company exposure to a sector investors have sought out.

 

Tim Leiweke

Chief Executive Officer, Oak View Group

Leiweke’s OVG is on a building spree that’s unprecedented in sports business history, especially because it is based in part on the economics of live music. Leiweke got his first two buildings, Climate Pledge Arena and UBS Arena, opened this year, with two more planned to open in the first half of 2022. He also acquired Spectra, giving OVG a much-needed food and beverage offering.

 

 

Michael Levine

Co-Head, CAA Sports

Howard Nuchow

Co-Head, CAA Sports

CAA Sports celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2021, marking another strong year across sports business. Nuchow and Levine were instrumental in reaching a deal to acquire ICM Stellar Sports, the largest soccer agency in the world, and founded CAA Eleven, which manages the commercial rights for UEFA’s national team competitions. It set media and sponsorship sales records for the Euro Championship this past summer and extended its partnership with UEFA another eight years. Its property sales division delivered nearly $1 billion in sponsorship revenue to the LA Clippers from its first two partners — Intuit and Aspiration — for its new arena.

 

George Pyne

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bruin Capital

Bruin now consists of seven enterprises across the globe, acquiring ownership stakes in a U.K. digital gambling platform, the Full Swing golf training system and an Australian advertising and broadcast technology firm. With connections across the industry, Pyne’s $480 million in acquisitions will be watched closely as he continues his push for young businesses and emerging technology that could benefit from his expertise and capital.

 

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