Forty Under 40: Brian Kantarian

J.P. Morgan Private Bank by David Yellen

Brian Kantarian is closing in on a dozen years at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, where he leads the firm’s sports finance group. In that role, he has consulted with and helped provide financing for high-net-worth clients pursuing multibillion-dollar transactions, and few people have had as close a seat to such a historic period in the industry.

“When I started at J.P. Morgan, one of the first teams I saw trade hands in a control sale transaction was the Golden State Warriors. The headline price for that transaction was $450 million. Today, the Warriors are valued at over $5 billion, depending on who you talk to,” said Kantarian. “The level of valuation growth over such a short amount of time has been incredible to witness and to be a part of.”

Managing Director, Head of Private Bank Sports Finance Group, J.P. Morgan

Age: 39
Born: Rye, N.Y.
Education: Georgetown University, B.S., business administration; NYU Stern School of Business, MBA
Family: Spouse, Kathryn; children, Kaylee (6) and Cole (4)
I get fired up [by] … : My kids running to the door and giving me a hug when I get home from work.
Pandemic adjustment that will stick around: The vegetable garden.                
Advice to my 20-year-old self: Take the long-term view.
Profession I’d most like to attempt: High school basketball coach.
Guilty pleasure: Sour Patch Kids.
Cause supported: Cristo Rey New York High School.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Steve Ballmer.   
Decision I’d change in my career: I would have made a career switch into finance earlier.
The sports industry needs to do a better job of … : Listening to its various stakeholders.
Sports business leaders should be more mindful of … : Mentoring the next generation of leaders.
You’d be surprised to know that I … : Am growing six different kinds of hot peppers in my backyard.

Kantarian had early exposure to the sports business thanks to his father, Arlen, a former NFL marketing executive and CEO of professional tennis for the USTA. Kantarian kicked off his professional career as an associate with Velocity Sports and Entertainment’s strategic consulting group before getting his MBA.

He now estimates the bank’s sports business has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic. “We’re actively speaking to probably 100 different owners and teams,” said Kantarian, who spends much of his time sourcing new clients and strategizing the future growth of the business, which continues to thrill him.

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years, and every transaction I work on is unique in some way. Working with the different teams across the bank, getting creative on the best solution for the client, navigating around roadblocks to get the best execution — those are all the things that get me excited about the job,” said Kantarian. “I never thought I’d be here 12 years, but to be honest, as I sit here right now, I don’t plan to go anywhere else.” — Chris Smith

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