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Former NFL and NHL executives form SPAC focused on sports and entertainment

Eric Grubman and John Collins, former executives of the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL) respectively, have founded a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) focused on sports and entertainment.

Sports Entertainment Acquisition Corp filed with the securities and exchange commission (SEC) on September 14 for an initial public offering (IPO), where it wishes to raise US$350 million.

The company is expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, under the symbol SEAH.U, where it will offer 35 million units at US$10 each. Each unit will include one share common stock and one half of a warrant, exercisable at US$11.50.

The official filing stated that the Florida-based blank-check company will focus on acquisition opportunities in the sports and entertainment sectors and "the technology and services that are associated with these verticals.

"Examples of these technology/service areas include media, ticketing, payments processing, entertainment travel, gaming, loyalty programmes and many others.

"Our founders have knowledge of these areas and we believe a business operating in one of these areas would benefit from our operational expertise and the experience and networks of our management team."

Explaining the reason behind why the company will focus on sports and entertainment, Sports Entertainment Acquisition said that companies "achieve high growth" and "have the potential to serve as platforms that can be utilised for future acquisitions."

"The application of third-party capital and expertise has the potential to enable growth outside of the original focus area," the company’s filing added. "Examples of businesses that have followed this trajectory include ESPN, Ticketmaster/StubHub, Fanatics, On Location and many others."

Grubman will hold the position of chairman and chief financial officer at Sports Entertainment Acquisition, whilst Collins will be the company’s chief executive. Grubman has previously held a chairman’s position at On Location Experiences (OLE) while Collins spent nine years as the chief operating officer at the NHL.

Others set to join the management team at the company include Natara Holloway, who is greatly experienced from various role within the NFL and Timothy Goodell, the senior vice president for energy company Hess Corporation, who is well connected in the NFL himself as the brother of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. US investor Chris Shumway has also been listed as a co-founder.

In July, RedBird Capital Partners launched a similar sports-focused SPAC, which they filed with the SEC, forming RedBall Acquisition Corp, raising US$575 million in its IPO with plans to purchase a professional sports franchise with the money raised.

Through the number of private companies going public this year by merging with SPAC's, it has already raised a record US$38 billion in 2020 so far, according to SPAC Research.

Author: Jake Wilkin