- 1 Ex-NBA Executive Bobby Sharma Unveils Sports, Media, and Entertainment Private-Equity Firm
- 1.1 Bluestone Equity Partners LP Gathers $300 Million for Its First Fund
- 1.2 Pioneering the Way in Exclusive Industries
- 1.3 Expert Partners Join the Journey
- 1.4 Trailblazing Achievements
- 1.5 A Growing Community of Sports and Entertainment-Focused Investment Firms
- 1.6 The Power of Celebrity Partnerships
Ex-NBA Executive Bobby Sharma Unveils Sports, Media, and Entertainment Private-Equity Firm
Bobby Sharma, a former executive with the National Basketball Association and sports-and-entertainment agency IMG Worldwide LLC, embarks on an exciting journey with the launch of his private-equity firm that focuses on investments in the dynamic industries of sports, media, and entertainment.
Bluestone Equity Partners LP Gathers $300 Million for Its First Fund
Capitalizing on well-established investor relationships, Mr. Sharma’s Bluestone Equity Partners LP successfully raised $300 million from institutional investors for its inaugural fund. The firm aims to make its first deal closure in the current quarter.
Pioneering the Way in Exclusive Industries
Mr. Sharma acknowledges that the sports, media, and entertainment industry has historically remained a tightly controlled and exclusive domain. However, with his team’s wealth of blue-chip experience and deep industry connections, Bluestone is set to not only access highly confidential deal opportunities but also create new ones.
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Expert Partners Join the Journey
Kyle Charters, a former leader at advisory investment bank Inner Circle Sports LLC’s technology and services practice, is partnering with Mr. Sharma at Bluestone. Walker Brumskine, a former executive from Apollo Global Management Inc. and co-founder of investment management firm 127 Wall Holdings LLC, has also joined as a principal. Additionally, Jack Ross, a former analyst at Blackstone Inc., has become an associate at the firm.
Mr. Sharma’s illustrious career includes spearheading the creation of the NBA’s first minor league and its initial international league consulting business unit. During his tenure at IMG, he remarkably expanded the company’s professional basketball, soccer, and cricket properties in key emerging markets, alongside the expansion of its international media rights business. Throughout his journey, he collaborated with distinguished personalities like former NBA Commissioner David Stern, current Commissioner Adam Silver, IMG’s top executive Ted Forstmann, and his successor Mike Dolan.
A Global Network of Relationships
His endeavors not only achieved significant milestones but also laid the foundation for building valuable global relationships in the industry.
Bluestone’s Target and Vision
Bluestone, headquartered in New York, sets its sights on controlling and minority investments in established companies worldwide. While the primary focus remains on sports teams or leagues, the firm also actively backs ancillary businesses, including event and venue management or production services companies.
Riding the Wave of Change
As Mr. Sharma observes, the industry is experiencing a generational and cultural inflection point. With disruptions in media distribution and consumption and a shift in attitudes towards regulated gambling, the landscape is rapidly evolving.
A Growing Community of Sports and Entertainment-Focused Investment Firms
Bluestone joins the ranks of a burgeoning community of private investment firms that center their focus on sports and entertainment opportunities. In recent years, we have seen the likes of Velocity Capital Management and Dynasty Equity Partners Management founded with similar objectives. Even established private markets firms, such as Ares Management Corp., are launching dedicated funds for these ventures.
The Power of Celebrity Partnerships
Private-equity investors are increasingly teaming up with sports and entertainment celebrities to leverage their influence and connections. Notably, reality television star Kim Kardashian partnered with Jay Sammons, a former Carlyle Group Inc. partner, to establish a private-equity firm that targets consumer and media businesses. Likewise, former National Football League quarterback Eli Manning joined Brand Velocity Group as a partner.
The Early Stages of a Thriving Asset Class
Mr. Sharma acknowledges the surge in interest and activity within the sports, media, and entertainment investment space in recent years. However, he believes it is still the early days for this niche as an asset class, leaving ample room for growth and opportunities.
With Bluestone Equity Partners LP at the helm, guided by Bobby Sharma’s expertise and vision, the landscape of sports, media, and entertainment investments is set to witness exciting transformations. As the industry continues to evolve, the firm’s strategic approach and exclusive relationships position it for success in this ever-thriving domain.