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CAA Sports boosts its sports venue business with acquisition of Barrett Sports Group, renames division

CAA Sports boosts its sports venue business with acquisition of Barrett Sports Group, renames division

By Liz Mullen, Staff Writer

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CAA Sports has acquired Barrett Sports Group, a boutique firm that specializes in venue advisory and valuation, and has merged it into its existing team owners’ representative and project management division, Icon Venue Group. The combined practice will now be known as CAA Icon.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

BSG was founded by Dan Barrett in 2000. The company provides strategic consulting services to the sports and entertainment industry across a broad range of areas, including analysis of market demand, financial feasibility and economic impact; project finance; and franchise valuation. BSG has public sector clients, including cities, counties and states, as well as private sector clients, including team owners and leagues.

CAA Sports entered the sports venue business space in March of 2016, when it acquired Icon Venue Group, which acts as the owners’ representatives in the building of major sports facilities throughout the world. Icon works with entities employed to build a stadium or arena from the conception stage through the planning, design, construction and opening of the building. Tim Romani, Icon Venue Group founder and CEO, will lead the newly combined practice of CAA Icon.

BSG is based in Manhattan Beach, Calif., and all four executives of that company have joined CAA Icon.

Barrett
Romani
BSG’s business is complementary to Icon’s, as it’s also involved in facility planning but at an earlier stage. BSG also brings other capabilities, including transaction due diligence and other financial services.

“For Barrett Sports Group, joining Icon and CAA brings additional resources to our firm and to our ability to serve our clients,” Barrett said. BSG has been approached by suitors before, Barrett said, but he’s turned them down. The primary reason he sold to CAA Sports is the agency’s resources and reputation.

BSG clients have included Major League Soccer, the NHL, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco Giants, Inter Milan and many public sector clients, including the cities of Phoenix and Sacramento.

Romani and Barrett said they have known and respected each other for about 20 years and have worked together in the past, both on the same side and on opposite sides of the table. “Tim’s core business is really planning and getting these buildings constructed,” Barrett said. “On our venue advisory services side, we are on the planning side of those facilities as opposed to the construction side.”

Romani said that since he joined CAA Sports last year, he and other agency executives have been looking at ways to expand the facilities business group and the services it offers. They looked at expanding into business areas BSG is in, but decided instead to acquire the company.

“The big draw for us is the immediate value that comes with the market analysis and venue development support that Dan brings that enhances our business and what we do,” Romani said. “Dan’s firm has been the gold standard [in that area of work] for as long as I have been in this business.”

This is not the first time that CAA Sports has renamed a sports division it built through roll-up acquisitions. In 2015, CAA created CAA Premium Experience, through the acquisitions of three corporate hospitality firms, Beyond Sports & Entertainment, Goviva and Inside Sports & Entertainment Group.

“As we continue to push forward our growth plan for CAA Sports, we are focused on creating new opportunities that broaden our reach and resources for clients around the globe,” said Howard Nuchow, co-head, CAA Sports. “CAA Icon combines the expertise and experience of Icon Venue Group and Barrett Sports Group into one powerful entity, delivering a best-in-class suite of services to sports and entertainment facility owners worldwide.”


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