We are GF Sports & Entertainment. Elevating Experiences.

GF Sports & Entertainment is a live events and sports media entertainment company created in July 2015 by New York-based private equity firm GF Capital.

We are defined by our passion for what we do and get deeply immersed in everything we are involved in. We are producers of memorable events and riveting competitions, originators of unique concepts and global content, but above all, we are creators of vital and enduring franchises. Seeing opportunities that others may overlook, we invest our talents, energies and resources in creating lasting memories for guests, unique opportunities for sponsors and superior returns for investors.

To learn more about GF Capital and the company’s current portfolio, visit www.GFCap.com

GF Sports & Entertainment:

Building new and established sports,

media and entertainment brands.

Our Brands:

GF Sports & Entertainment currently owns and operates two 250 level tournaments on the ATP tour: the Dallas Open and the Atlanta Open. In November 2023 it was announced that the the Dallas Open would be upgraded to a 500 level event starting in 2025. With this news came the exciting endeavor to partner with the world reknowned Dallas Cowboys and move the tournament’s location to the Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters.

In addition to these two tournaments we currently own and operate the New York Riptide, a professional lacrosse team from the National Lacrosse League that plays out of the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.

In 2022 we acquired World Long Drive from the GOLF Channel. The World Long Drive tour features the longest and fastest hitters in the game who compete for prize money and ranking points all culminating to crown a World Long Drive Champion.

APPROACH

GF Sports & Entertainment acquires or invests in established sports, media and entertainment properties that are poised to scale. We provide long-term, flexible capital that maximizes our ability to build and grow lasting properties and brands that compound value over time. GF Sports & Entertainment also incubates new and emerging sport concepts utilizing its global expertise and network to help develop niche sports.

Our team has nearly three decades of experience in the media, live events and sports industries. We utilize our established network of operators, partners and key stakeholders in sports, media and live events to find unique and effective ways to elevate and expand businesses.

Target Industries:

  • Sports, Leisure & Hospitality
  • Media & Entertainment

Investment Criteria:

  • Platforms with Scalable Enterprise Value
  • Strong Competitive Position
  • Significant Opportunity for Growth
  • Area of GF Sports & Entertainment Expertise

Experience:

GF Capital formed Repucom in 2010, powered by an initial investment and merger of two leading companies in the space. Over the next six years Repucom became the global leader in sports sponsorship measurement. GF Capital further consolidated the market following the initial investment to expand into new markets and products, recruited a top-tier management team and developed a big data platform to serve clients in all aspects of their businesses, including sports, entertainment, government/tourism and branded content. GF Capital sold Repucom to The Nielsen Company in 2016.

GF Capital partnered with two of the existing three founders of Blue Man Group in 2010 to help grow the entertainment brand. Leveraging GF Capital’s vast operational, marketing and sales expertise, together they launched highly successful North American and World tours, developed two non-Blue Man Group character driven properties, and developed innovative marketing campaigns capitalizing on Blue Man Group IP. GF Capital sold its stake in Blue Man Group to Cirque du Soleil in 2017.

LEADERSHIP

Board of Directors

Gary Fuhrman

Board Member

Erik Baker

Board Member

Hank Ratner

Board Member

Neil Shapiro

Board Member

Shawn Tilger

President and
Board Member

Gary Fuhrman

Erik Baker

Hank Ratner

Neil Shapiro

Shawn Tilger

Mr. Fuhrman has a long and distinguished track record of investing in middle market branded consumer product and media companies. Prior to founding GF Capital in 2001, Mr. Fuhrman shared oversight of Corporate Finance and Asset management at Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder, Inc. (“A&SB”), working with leading multi-national companies. Mr. Fuhrman is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Fuhrman is active with a number of charitable including the Garden of Dreams Foundation where he is an active member of the board. Mr. Fuhrman also served as a Dwight School Governor from 2006-10 before becoming a Dwight School Foundation Trustee in 2010.
 
Mr. Fuhrman is a board member of Jonathan Adler, Blue Man Group, Oscar de la Renta, The Collective and GF Sports Holdings.

Mr. Baker is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of GF Capital, and a member of the Private Equity Investment Committee, where he concentrates on private equity investments in the media and branded consumer product sectors. Mr. Baker is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Jonathan Adler, Whalerock Industries and GF Sports & Entertainment, and was formerly a board member of Airborne, Repucom, Trade Service, Blue Man Group and Melodeo.

Prior to co-founding GF Capital, Mr. Baker served as a Senior Vice President of Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder (“A&SB”) with Messrs. Fuhrman and Shapiro, where he worked in the Corporate Finance department as well as managing a number of A&SB corporate development activities. Prior to A&SB, Mr. Baker was an Analyst with Gleacher & Co., an M&A advisory boutique. Mr. Baker has been a featured speaker at several private equity conferences.

Mr. Baker graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at Penn.

 

Mr. Ratner has more than three decades of experience holding top executive positions at leading sports, entertainment, media and technology companies. He currently serves as CEO of investment firm and strategic consulting practice Ratner Ventures, which has ownership interests in a broad portfolio of early stage and established global businesses. Mr. Ratner is on the Board of Directors of MSG Networks (NYSE: MSGN), Engine Media (TSX-V:GAME), EEM World and GF Sports & Entertainment.

Mr. Ratner spent nearly 30 years at Cablevision Systems Corporation (Cablevision) and its affiliated companies until the sale of Cablevision to Altice in 2016. During that time, Mr. Ratner served as Vice Chairman of Cablevision, President and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) and Chief Operating Officer of AMC Networks (formerly Rainbow Media) where he helped lead each company through unprecedented periods of dynamic and enduring growth. From 2016 to 2018, Mr. Ratner served as President and CEO of Independent Sports & Entertainment, overseeing its transition from Relatively Sports into an integrated sports, media, entertainment and management company representing more than 300 NBA, NFL and MLB athletes. Mr. Ratner began his career as a corporate lawyer with the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

Mr. Ratner was the founder of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the nonprofit that works closely with all areas of MSG and MSG Networks to positively impact the lives of children facing obstacles. He was Chairman from the Foundation’s inception in 2006 until 2014 and remains a Board Member.

 

Mr. Shapiro has extensive experience investing in and working with consumer products companies to grow and develop global brands. Prior to co-founding GF Capital, Mr. Shapiro was a Vice President at A&SB with Messrs. Fuhrman and Baker, focusing on corporate finance for multinational and domestic companies. Mr. Shapiro is a CPA, and was an auditor at KPMG Peat Marwick prior to joining A&SB. Mr. Shapiro holds a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Business and is an emeritus member of The Wisconsin Business Alumni Board of the Wisconsin School of Business.

Mr. Shapiro is a board member / manager of Bite Tech, EEM World, Jonathan Adler, Mansur Gavriel, Mark Cross and Oscar de la Renta (observation rights).

 

Mr. Tilger is a seasoned sports and entertainment executive with more than 30 years of experience leading professional sports franchises, entertainment properties and venues. Since July 2020, he has served as President of GF Sports & Entertainment. 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 received an M.A. in Sports Management from Springfield College and a B.A. in Government and Law from Lafayette College. He 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.

 

Gary Furman

Mr. Fuhrman has a long and distinguished track record of investing in middle market branded consumer product and media companies. Prior to founding GF Capital in 2001, Mr. Fuhrman shared oversight of Corporate Finance and Asset management at Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder, Inc. (“A&SB”), working with leading multi-national companies. Mr. Fuhrman is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Fuhrman is active with a number of charitable including the Garden of Dreams Foundation where he is an active member of the board. Mr. Fuhrman also served as a Dwight School Governor from 2006-10 before becoming a Dwight School Foundation Trustee in 2010.
 
Mr. Fuhrman is a board member of Jonathan Adler, Blue Man Group, Oscar de la Renta, The Collective and GF Sports Holdings.

Erik Baker

Mr. Baker is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of GF Capital, and a member of the Private Equity Investment Committee, where he concentrates on private equity investments in the media and branded consumer product sectors. Mr. Baker is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Jonathan Adler, Whalerock Industries and GF Sports & Entertainment, and was formerly a board member of Airborne, Repucom, Trade Service, Blue Man Group and Melodeo.

Prior to co-founding GF Capital, Mr. Baker served as a Senior Vice President of Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder (“A&SB”) with Messrs. Fuhrman and Shapiro, where he worked in the Corporate Finance department as well as managing a number of A&SB corporate development activities. Prior to A&SB, Mr. Baker was an Analyst with Gleacher & Co., an M&A advisory boutique. Mr. Baker has been a featured speaker at several private equity conferences.

Mr. Baker graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at Penn.

 

Hank Ratner

Mr. Ratner has more than three decades of experience holding top executive positions at leading sports, entertainment, media and technology companies. He currently serves as CEO of investment firm and strategic consulting practice Ratner Ventures, which has ownership interests in a broad portfolio of early stage and established global businesses. Mr. Ratner is on the Board of Directors of MSG Networks (NYSE: MSGN), Engine Media (TSX-V:GAME), EEM World and GF Sports & Entertainment.

Mr. Ratner spent nearly 30 years at Cablevision Systems Corporation (Cablevision) and its affiliated companies until the sale of Cablevision to Altice in 2016. During that time, Mr. Ratner served as Vice Chairman of Cablevision, President and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) and Chief Operating Officer of AMC Networks (formerly Rainbow Media) where he helped lead each company through unprecedented periods of dynamic and enduring growth. From 2016 to 2018, Mr. Ratner served as President and CEO of Independent Sports & Entertainment, overseeing its transition from Relatively Sports into an integrated sports, media, entertainment and management company representing more than 300 NBA, NFL and MLB athletes. Mr. Ratner began his career as a corporate lawyer with the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

Mr. Ratner was the founder of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the nonprofit that works closely with all areas of MSG and MSG Networks to positively impact the lives of children facing obstacles. He was Chairman from the Foundation’s inception in 2006 until 2014 and remains a Board Member.

 

Neil Shapiro

Mr. Shapiro has extensive experience investing in and working with consumer products companies to grow and develop global brands. Prior to co-founding GF Capital, Mr. Shapiro was a Vice President at A&SB with Messrs. Fuhrman and Baker, focusing on corporate finance for multinational and domestic companies. Mr. Shapiro is a CPA, and was an auditor at KPMG Peat Marwick prior to joining A&SB. Mr. Shapiro holds a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Business and is an emeritus member of The Wisconsin Business Alumni Board of the Wisconsin School of Business.

Mr. Shapiro is a board member / manager of Bite Tech, EEM World, Jonathan Adler, Mansur Gavriel, Mark Cross and Oscar de la Renta (observation rights).

 

Shawn Tilger

Mr. Tilger is a seasoned sports and entertainment executive with more than 30 years of experience leading professional sports franchises, entertainment properties and venues. Since July 2020, he has served as President of GF Sports & Entertainment. 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 received an M.A. in Sports Management from Springfield College and a B.A. in Government and Law from Lafayette College. He 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.

 

Management

Rich Lisk

Executive Vice President

Peter Lebedevs

EVP of Tennis
Dallas Open & Atlanta Open

Justine Pletnick

VP, Marketing & Revenue Strategy

Bill Ward

VP, Operations

Brian Esposito

Cheif Revenue Officer, Sponsorships

David Wendrychowicz

VP, Finance

Zane Smith

VP, Business Operations
World Long Drive

Tyler Brenneman

Associate, GF Capital
Board Member,
Wolf Pack Ninjas

NEWS

ORLIN & COHEN POSTGAME REPORT: RIPTIDE FALL TO MAMMOTH 18-10

The New York Riptide traveled to Colorado Friday night to play the Colorado Mammoth. The Mammoth put together their best half of the season during the second half on Friday…
The post ORLIN & COHEN POSTGAME REPORT: RIPTIDE FALL TO MAMMOTH 18-10 appeared first on New York Riptide.

GAME PREVIEW: NEW YORK RIPTIDE VS COLORADO MAMMOTH

The New York Riptide and Colorado Mammoth will meet Friday, February 23rd, at 9:00 PM EST in a matchup that will have massive implications on the playoff race. The Riptide…
The post GAME PREVIEW: NEW YORK RIPTIDE VS COLORADO MAMMOTH appeared first on New York Riptide.

A Statement From The New York Riptide

It has been a fun 2023-24 season thus far for the New York Riptide and we are fully committed and excited for a potential playoff run! Before we continue, we…
The post A Statement From The New York Riptide appeared first on New York Riptide.

ORLIN & COHEN POSTGAME REPORT: RIPTIDE LOSE TO ROCK 16-10

The New York Riptide and Toronto Rock played at the Place Bell arena on Friday night in front of a packed crowd. The Rock brushed off a slow start to…
The post ORLIN & COHEN POSTGAME REPORT: RIPTIDE LOSE TO ROCK 16-10 appeared first on New York Riptide.

GAME PREVIEW: NEW YORK RIPTIDE VS SAN DIEGO SEALS

The New York Riptide, led by Jeff Teat, are slated to play against the San Diego Seals this Saturday, February 10th, at 7:30 PM EST. The Riptide have been on…
The post GAME PREVIEW: NEW YORK RIPTIDE VS SAN DIEGO SEALS appeared first on New York Riptide.

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