Transactions & News

The Bottom Line: NewSpring Holdings Launches New Sports, Media, and Entertainment Platform

NewSpring ("the Firm"), a family of private equity strategies, announced today that NewSpring Holdings, the Firm's majority investment strategy focused on sector-specific platform builds, is acquiring underdog venture team to establish underdog & company.

This deal marks NewSpring Holdings' first investment into the sports sector catalyzed by strong secular tailwinds around sports, entertainment, and culture

With one of the most diverse leadership and equity groups in the industry, underdog venture team is a next-generation organization providing an integrated mix of brand-building services that include curated experiences, integrated marketing, strategic communications, storytelling, and partnerships. underdog venture team clients include Athletes Unlimited, Jackie Robinson Foundation, Major League Soccer, Pokatok Festival, TelevisaUnivision, and the United States Tennis Association.

This partnership between NewSpring Holdings and underdog venture team to create underdog & company is poised to reshape the sports and entertainment marketing landscape through investments in diverse talent, strategic acquisitions, and a fresh perspective on industry challenges. Situated within a convergence of market trends, including the rise of streaming services, niche sports leagues, and NIL athlete representation, underdog & company offers a distinct value proposition that challenges the status quo by reflecting the communities it serves, providing brands a unique perspective for interacting with existing as well a new generation of fans.

This partnership exemplifies NewSpring Holdings’ industry leader investment approach strengthened by a disciplined M&A process to accelerate growth

Dan Mannix, co-founder of underdog venture team, will serve as Co-Founder and Managing Partner of underdog & company. Mannix will be responsible for identifying and cultivating partnerships and acquisitions with entrepreneurial founders, agencies, event properties, and intellectual property. Prior to starting underdog venture team, Mannix launched LeadDog Marketing Group where he served as President & CEO before being acquired by CSM and serving as CEO of North America from 2018-2020.

"underdog & company seeks to shatter the ceiling in sports by offering a revolutionary approach that defies the traditional sports marketing model and helps clients navigate a complex, ever-changing business environment," said Mannix. "Our current management team is composed of industry leaders with award-winning success, and thanks to our partnership with NewSpring, we now have the operational resources and access to capital to acquire best-in-class agencies and talent to enhance our services and further the company's vision of bringing new thinking to the market through diversity to influence the culture of the industry."

NewSpring Holdings leverages proven organic growth strategies and a disciplined M&A process to accelerate growth in sector-specific markets, including logistics, fin-tech, government services, IT services, and now sports. NewSpring Holdings has completed approximately 40 acquisitions into 5 platform companies and successfully built a government services platform, Avantus Federal, which recently sold for $590M.

underdog & company is supported by an innovative, diverse, and growth-oriented management team

Nicole Jeter West, an industry veteran with more than 25 years of leading and managing world class sports and entertainment brands, will continue to serve as CEO of underdog venture team, a subsidiary of underdog & company, overseeing brand-building services—including brand storytelling, strategic partnerships, experiential, creative, and platform development—as well as a venture studio focused on investing, advising, and fundraising for early-stage diverse founders. With a reputation for developing inclusive environments, global brands, and innovative partnership platforms, West has held senior executive positions at the most iconic and renowned properties, including LA 2028, Legends, the United States Tennis Association, and the New York Knicks.

“I am beyond proud of the organization we are building, and more importantly the diversity of thought, talent, and culture that is represented at underdog & company,” said Nicole Jeter West. “Our commitment to representation, curiosity and innovation continues to deliver tangible impact and value for our clients, and we are just getting started. Our partnership with NewSpring will accelerate and scale our services, talent, and social impact, while staying true to the underdog mindset.”

"The formation of underdog & company as NewSpring Holdings' marketing services platform reflects our thesis-driven focus on industry leaders. We look to partner with entrepreneurs and operators who have successfully built businesses within a specific industry, bringing the domain knowledge and expertise needed to build platform companies of scale. We are thrilled to partner with Dan Mannix and Nicole Jeter West, with their proven track record of creating innovative campaigns and growing companies in the sports and entertainment market. By injecting NewSpring's capital and operational acumen, we will capitalize on secular trends of innovation and social impact in the sports domain, while building a company that has cross-sell opportunities across capability-set, end-markets, and geographies."
— NewSpring Holdings General Partner, Skip Maner

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