The Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast by Marcus Luer

David Abrutyn, From Intern to US$ 700 Million in Dry powder

May 27, 2020

David gives us a fascinating look into his amazing career from being an intern at the Washington Capitals to leading IMG's global Consulting Business to now being a founding Partner of Bruins Sports Capital and sitting on USD 700 million in Capital to invest. Enjoy the journey.


 
Key Highlights

  1. Early days, from internship at the Washington Capitals to the Sports Business Daily
  2. Learning the business, how to sell, cold calling, building a network leads to the next opportunities at the NHL and then IMG
  3. IMG – over 15 years building a new Consulting practise on the back of IMG’s global resources and knowledge in sports
  4. Educating Brands on how to leverage sports assets and the power of sports
  5. How to navigate potential conflict of interest, ie not being seen as just selling IMG properties
  6. Insights into Mark McCormack’s, legendary founder of IMG, leadership style  
  7. IMG 2.0 under Ted Forstmann, how Private Equity changed the business discipline and made IMG an even a better company, leading to a huge exit 10 years later
  8. Bruins Sports Capital (BSC) – big picture and funding power
  9. Focus on Media, Lifestyle and Marketing services in sports
  10. BSC – smart money, not just money but huge experiences
  11. BSC 1st Fund, US$ 300 million committed capital and BSC 2nd Fund, additional US$ 600 million (US$ 700 million of dry powder)
  12. Focus of 1st Fund – companies with US$ 10 million of earnings, investing several rounds (tug in rounds)
  13. On Location Experiences (OLE), partnership with NFL and sale of business for US$ 660 million
  14. Focus on building businesses, growing companies, long term vision – not focused on exit strategies
  15. Courtside Ventures (separate VC fund, managed by 3rd party) to invest in sports tech startups
  16. How to foster collaboration between portfolio companies
  17. Current climate for existing portfolio companies
  18. Focus on platform businesses, OTT, Digital, Marketing – not focuses on distressed assets (broken businesses), focus on great businesses and great people
  19. Biggest learning from his career (find Mentors & develop communication skills, build network)
  20. No real regrets, learn from losses
  21. TSA’s new mission in the region. Bring US$ 1 billion of new revenue and capital to the sports ecosystem in the next 10 years

 

About

David Abrutyn is a top strategist and innovative leader who has transformed sports and entertainment businesses for nearly 30 years. He specializes in helping global brands, sports leagues, rights holders, and marketing agencies on the ways to capitalize on emerging growth trends, disruption, and evolving consumer behaviors.

For Bruin, he sources and evaluates investment opportunities and is responsible for the company’s interests in the marketing services sector, including its ownership of award-winning agencies Engine Shop and Soulsight. His work establishing On Locations Experiences – a Bruin joint venture with the NFL – set the stage for OLE’s rapid growth and sale for $660M four years after launch. He has also been instrumental in the U.S. expansion of Deltatre, a Bruin media technology company, based in Turin, Italy, which now serves the most prestigious U.S. sports companies and leagues, among its global roster of clients.

David joined Bruin in 2015 after 15 years at IMG, where as Senior Vice President & Global Managing Director of its Consulting, and led one of the industry’s most successful practices. During his tenure the business grew from less than ten people to nearly 200 people operating in 13 countries and 50+ clients. He diversified the core capabilities of the business to include activation, communications, public relations, property consulting, public sector, and tourism. IMG’s practice was also US and UK Agency of the Year multiple times and its clients achieve across-the-board accolades from the industry’s most respected trade publications.

David’s career began in sales and marketing with the Washington Capitals before he joined The Sports Business Daily at its launch and served as Associate Publisher Sports Business Journal/Daily, now the industry’s leading trade publication. After SBJ, he joined the National Hockey League’s Marketing Group before moving on to IMG. In 2008, SBJ named David to its prestigious 40-Under-40 list.

A University of Hartford graduate, David, his wife, and two children reside in Rye, New York.

 

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