NEW YORK, NY, August 17, 2020 – GF Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, announced today the next phase of strategic growth and expansion for GF Sports, now renamed GF Sports & Entertainment with an expanded commitment to scaling and diversify the growing business in the entertainment space. Industry veteran Shawn Tilger has been named as the first-ever President of the company, which will focus on acquiring or investing in established sports, media and entertainment properties that are poised to scale. Mr. Tilger, a seasoned sports and entertainment executive with more than 30 years of experience leading professional sports franchises, entertainment properties and venues, will also join the Board of Directors for GF Sports & Entertainment.
“In five years, we have strategically built a diverse portfolio of live events and sports properties and now, catapulted by the valuable leadership hiring of Shawn Tilger and additional capital investment, the company is poised to begin the next phase of growth,” said Gary Fuhrman, Chairman and CEO, GF Capital and Board Member, GF Sports & Entertainment. “Shawn is an experienced, proven executive that we are thrilled to have on board as the first President for GF Sports & Entertainment to guide the long-term strategic vision and expansion of the business.”
Added Mr. Tilger: “I want to thank Gary Fuhrman, Erik Baker and the Board of Directors for providing me with the opportunity to lead GF Sports & Entertainment at an exciting time of growth for the business. The leadership team has an incredible entrepreneurial spirit and I can’t wait to work side-by-side with them, and everyone else at GF Sports & Entertainment, to maximize opportunity with our current properties and leverage our expertise to build out the business. GF Capital’s successful track record of scaling big brands like Blue Man Group, Repucom and Warner Music, excites me for what the future can hold for GF Sports & Entertainment.”
GF Sports & Entertainment will provide long-term, flexible capital to established sports, media and entertainment companies, with an eye toward building and growing lasting properties and brands that compound value over time. In his new role, Mr. Tilger will steer the global vision and growth strategy for the company with a strong focus on establishing new business opportunities through strategic partnerships and ownership of additional sports and entertainment properties. Mr. Tilger will also oversee all areas of business operations and revenue generation for the company’s current portfolio of properties, which in five short years has grown to include two of the ATP World Tour’s longest running American tournaments, the New York Open and the Truist Atlanta Open, the New York National Lacrosse League (NLL) team the New York Riptide, and two national touring shows in AKC Meet the Breeds® and Wolf Pack Ninjas.
Mr. Tilger will sit on the company’s Board of Directors alongside Mr. Fuhrman; Erik Baker, Co-Founder & Managing Director, GF Capital; Neil Shapiro, Co-Founder & Managing Director, GF Capital; and veteran sports, media and entertainment executive Hank Ratner, who is also a co-investor with GF Capital across the company’s various properties.
Since April 2019, Mr. Tilger has served as a Senior Advisor to GF Sports. Previously, he worked for Comcast Spectacor as Chief Operating Officer and Alternate Governor for the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) and Chief Operating Officer and Governor for the Philadelphia Wings (NLL). In these roles, he was responsible for driving the strategic vision and sustained growth of the teams, overseeing both teams’ business operations, corporate partnerships, and revenue growth initiatives. Earlier, during his more than 20-year tenure at Comcast Spectacor, he served as Vice President of Marketing for the company, managing marketing, public relations, and sales for family events and concerts at the Wells Fargo Center and the Spectrum. Mr. Tilger was named to SportsBusiness Journal’s 2010 “Forty Under 40” list and while with the Flyers was recognized with numerous NHL and national media awards for sales, advertising and marketing achievements.
About GF Sports & Entertainment
GF Sports & Entertainment is a live events and sports media entertainment company created by New York-based private equity firm GF Capital Management & Advisors, LLC. Formed in July 2015, GF Sports & Entertainment owns two of the ATP World Tour’s longest running American tournaments, the New York Open and the Truist Atlanta Open, as well as the New York National Lacrosse League team the New York Riptide. In addition, GF Sports & Entertainment is partnered with the American Kennel Club (AKC), the leading registry and governing body of canine events in the United States, to further develop and expand the AKC Meet the Breeds® event platform. GF Sports & Entertainment also incubates new and emerging sport concepts utilizing its global expertise and network to help develop niche sports. Such concepts include Wolf Pack Ninjas, which operates ninja-focused events globally. Veteran sport, media and entertainment executive Hank Ratner is a co-investor with GF Capital across the company’s various sports properties.
GF Capital makes control-oriented, growth capital investments in branded consumer product and media companies, and its investments have included a number of sports and live entertainment companies. These include Repucom, a global leader in sports measurement, evaluation and intelligence, which was sold to Nielsen in 2016 and Blue Man Group, the world-renowned entertainment company which was sold to Cirque du Soleil in 2017.