Forty Under 40: Colin Neville

Courtesy of The Raine Group

In 2009, Colin Neville was in his mid-20s and fresh off receiving a promotion at Bank of America Merrill Lynch when he got the offer to join The Raine Group, a newly launched merchant bank with an advisory practice and an investment arm. Neville took a pay cut to join the firm, but in exchange got access to high-level, hands-on deal-making experiences, like visiting Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ apartment over a weekend to work through a business plan.

“That was a little intimidating, but I love those challenges,” said Neville of his early responsibilities. “Raine encourages our team members to step up if they’re capable of doing it. I don’t know if they knew whether I was capable of doing it back then, but they gave me the opportunity. Getting so much responsibility, trust and making an impact was key to my growth.”

Partner, The Raine Group

Age: 38
Born: Manhasset, N.Y.
Education: Yale University, B.A., political science
Family: Spouse, Leslie; children, Luke (6) and William (3.5)
I get fired up [by] … : Challenges and pressure.
Pandemic adjustment that will stick around: More regular family dinners.
Advice to my 20-year-old self: Don’t worry, everyone is still figuring it out.
Profession I’d most like to attempt: Detective.
Guilty pleasure: Buying new golf clubs.
Cause supported: First Tee.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Phil Knight.        
The sports industry needs to do a better job of … : Innovating.
Sports business leaders should be more mindful of … : Capturing the next generation of fans.
Most adventurous thing I’ve done is … Bicycled across the United States.
You’d be surprised to know that I … : Sang the national anthem at three Los Angeles Lakers games while in college.

Neville’s impact has only grown since. He made partner in 2020, and now oversees the firm’s sports practice. He has advised on some of the industry’s biggest M&A deals, including Steve Ballmer’s acquisition of the Los Angeles Clippers, Joe Tsai’s purchase of the Brooklyn Nets and the $4 billion sale of the UFC to Endeavor. On Raine’s investment side, he has held seats on the boards of DraftKings and the Premier Lacrosse League, among others.

Most recently, Neville led the sales process for Chelsea FC, which was acquired by a group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital. “There’s no better calling card than the reputation of handling difficult, complex situations and driving successful outcomes, so we’re getting a lot of phone calls,” said Neville, who added that a top near-term priority is to complete several new investments. “The beautiful thing about our model and our team — we have amazing people that we work with, and I hope some of them will have this award someday soon — is that we’re in the fortunate position to decide how we spend our time and energy.” — Chris Smith

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