Although the XFL’s plans in 2022 and beyond have yet to be officially revealed, the new ownership group continues to add key pieces. Most recently joining the RedBird Capital team is NFL Executive Kevin LaForce. LaForce is expected to be heavily leaned on by the private equity firm as a Managing Director, helping RedBird with their investments in technology, media and telecom, and sports.
LaForce has held the title ‘Senior Vice President of Media Strategy & Business Development’ since 2017, in which he’s helped negotiate billions of dollars in broadcast deals, including all of the key media partnerships with the NFL (worth more than $110 billion over the next decade). He’s also played a key role in the NFL’s addition of streaming partners to the traditional TV lineup over time. These partnerships most recently include Thursday Night Football with FOX and Amazon, the NFL’s mobile partnership with Verizon, key digital partnerships with social media properties (Facebook, Twitter, SNAP, etc.), and digital aggregators (Google/YouTube, Amazon).
In addition, LaForce has overseen the strategic direction of the NFL’s out-of-market game package, NFL Sunday Ticket, and its related partnership with AT&T. Finally, LaForce manages all media strategy and business development attached to the NFL’s efforts in the legalized sports betting space, including both video and data licensing partnerships.
Kevin LaForce has also held the title ‘Vice President of 32 Equity LLC’ since 2014. In this position, he’s led 32 Equity, the NFL’s venture capital fund, which has held investments from all 32 NFL teams since 2013. 32 Equity has made investments across a range of opportunities of strategic interest to the NFL, including Learfield Communications (college & university multi-media rights management), On Location Experiences (premium hospitality), Fanatics (eCommerce), Appetize (point-of-sale software), Skillz (mobile gaming) and Hyperice (fitness/recovery).
LaForce initially joined the NFL in 2007, working in various roles centered around Media Strategy and Business Development, as well as the development of the NFL’s owned and operated media business.
In regards to LaForce joining the team, Managing Partner & CEO of RedBird Capital, Gerry Cardinale said in an email,
“Over the last six years, Kevin has been a great partner and colleague in our various projects with the NFL; He has been a leader in the sports industry across all aspects of media – content distribution, media partnerships, digital platforms – as well as data analytics, licensing, sports betting and the League’s strategic investment portfolio.”
Needless to say, LaForce is an extremely beneficial addition to the already super team at RedBird Capital Partners.
Former Goldman Sachs partner Gerry Cardinale, founded RedBird Capital in 2013, and since then, the firm has made many investments across global sports and media. RedBird currently holds $5 billion in assets under management, including a 10% stake in Fenway Sports Group (parent of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC) and a significant minority stake in Wasserman Media, the sports marketing and talent agency founded by Casey Wasserman. RedBird also owns French soccer club Toulouse FC and assets from the XFL.
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