Frisco's Blue Star Sports Scores Big-time Booster in NFL's Investment Arm

A Frisco company's bid to consolidate the youth sports business is getting a financial boost from the NFL's investment arm.Blue Star Sports, partially backed by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, did not disclose the amount of the investment from the NFL's 32 Equity but said the money would be used to "fuel continued acquisitions in the sports technology space." The deal is believed to be the first of its type in which the NFL has invested directly in an entity co-owned by one of its team owners, though the league and some other NFL teams have done business with Legends Hospitality, partially owned by the Cowboys, according to Sports Business Journal.Blue Star also announced its 14th acquisition with the purchase of Stack, which produces a magazine and website with content geared toward youth athletes, coaches and sports parents. Stack CEO Nick Palazzo will become Blue Star's chief digital officer.Blue Star's strategy is to become a one-stop destination for everything involved in youth sports, from organizing leagues, camps and tournaments to tracking statistics and producing highlight videos. It already works with other large youth sports organizations, such as AAU, USA Football and U.S. Soccer.The NFL formed 32 Equity in 2013 with a $1 million investment from each of the league's 32 teams in a partnership with private equity firm Providence Equity Partners. The partnership said at the time that it planned to target media and technology companies with investments of $25 million to $50 million.The NFL will collaborate with Blue Star on ways to enhance the league's youth programs, the company said."The vision for Blue Star Sports has always been to transform all aspects of youth sports through the entire value chain," said Blue Star founder and CEO Rob Wechsler in a statement. "Blue Star Sports now has every product for every sport at every level everywhere sports are played." For Blue Star, the NFL investment follows an initial financial backing of $100 million primarily from Providence, Jones and Wechsler, according to Sports Business Journal. A subsequent equity deal three months ago worth an even-larger, undisclosed, nine-figure sum saw Genstar Capital become the company's lead investor.It has grown rapidly since its formation in December 2015. Here are some of the key moments in the company's development:  Continue reading...

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