Sports, technology and entertainment leaders join forces to purchase United States SailGP Team

Mark Lasry’s Avenue Sports Fund will lead a group of investors in the acquisition of an American team with owners Ryan and Margaret McKillen and Mike Buckley

NEW YORK, November 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — SailGP’s United States team was bought by a tech investor and founder of Uber engineer Ryan McKillen, Margaret McKillenand two-time World Sailing Champion Mike Buckley. They are joined by a diverse group of investors representing the sports, technology, entertainment and media industries.

The Avenue Sports Fund, led by the executive director of Avenue Capital Group Mark Lasry, is the lead investor in what will be the largest team acquisition in SailGP history. Other members of the investment group include an actress and a producer Issa Rae; world heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder; global DJ and producer Gryffin; and NFL stars DeAndre Hopkins, Malik JacksonRoquan Smith and Kyvon Thibodeau. Additional articles include University of Alabama football star Dallas Turner; former American soccer player Jozy Altidore; University of Michigan a basketball legend Caitlin Flaherty Yates; Muse Capital’s Asia Grazioli-Venier; and serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.

SailGP is the most exciting race on the water. The Global League features high-tech, high-speed 50-foot catamarans raced by the world’s best athletes on 10 national teams and broadcast in over 200+ markets (CBS and YouTube in the US). In SailGP’s fourth season, the fast-growing global sailing league delivers 13 live events throughout the year – six of which take place in North America including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago – at the world’s most iconic coastal locations.

Under the new USA SailGP team structure, Ryan McKillen will serve as chairman and Mike Buckley as CEO. The team appointed a seven-time world sailing champion Taylor Canfield as team pilot.

“By bringing together this remarkable group to acquire the United States SailGP Team, we have reached an important milestone in the growth of our sport,” said Ryan McKillen, co-owner and chairman of the USA SailGP team. “As sailors, we love this sport and want to introduce it to millions; as entrepreneurs, we recognize the potential and growth trajectory of SailGP and how our US SailGP team can represent the future of water racing at the highest level. Our incredible ownership group is a testament to SailGP’s growth and expansion into the mainstream.”

We believe diversity is a competitive advantage and it should start at the top,” he said Mike Buckley, American co-owner and CEO of the SailGP team. “We have assembled the most diverse group of owners in the history of our sport. Overall, we have a huge amount of work to do on and off the water, but I think I’ve shown that I’m not going to back down from this important challenge.”

Avenue Capital Group recently launched Avenue Sports Fund with the goal of providing capital solutions to a wide variety of sports teams, owners and leagues, as well as investing in sports-related media and entertainment rights, real estate and other related businesses. Team USA SailGP is the second major investment in a team by the Sports Fund.

“Avenue Sports Fund’s investment in the US SailGP team is a perfect fit for our strategy to support emerging sports and leagues to take advantage of the globalization of sports and related areas of potential rapid growth,” they said Mark Lasry, Chairman and CEO of Avenue Capital Group. “We are excited to join Ryan, Margaret, Mike and the broader group of investors as the USA SailGP team competes on an exciting global stage.”

USA SailGP Team Partners Red BullT-Movable for Business and Zhik, reaffirmed their commitment to the US SailGP Team, working with the team and league to cater to a growing fan base, innovate in technology, sport and lifestyle, and deliver premium event experiences.

The debut of the American SailGP team in Dubai, December 9-10
United States SailGP The team (competitors to be announced) will compete at the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marini, December 9-10.

Dubai is the sixth stop on the SailGP Season 4 global calendar. The league returns to North America in Spring 2024 with events each month starting with the Bermuda Grand Prix (May 4-5) and the ROCKWOOL Canada Sail Grand Prix in Halifax (June 1-2).

The first chance for the US SailGP Team to compete in front of their American fans will be in new York, June 22-23 the Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix; followed by the SailGP Season 4 Grand Final in San Francisco On July 13-14.

ABOUT SAILGP // SailGP is the most exciting water race in the world. The World Cup features national teams competing in short, intense competitions at iconic stadium-style venues around the world. The high-tech, high-speed action features sailing’s top athletes competing in identical F50 hydrofoil catamarans flying at speeds close to 100 km/h (60 mph). SailGP also competes for a better future, protecting a world powered by nature. Visit SailGP.com For more information.

ABOUT AVENUE CAPITAL GROUP // Avenue Capital Group is a global investment intermediary focused primarily on making opportunistic loans and other special situation investments United States, Europe and Asia. Avenue, founded in 1995 by Mark Lasry and Sonia Gardnerdraws on the skills and experience of over 60 investment professionals and more than 180 employees worldwide, operating from its headquarters in new York and offices in DublinLondon, LuxembourgHong Kong, New Delhi, Singapore, Sydney, Abu Dhabi and Silicon Valley. Avenue has assets under management of approx $12.5 billion.

SOURCE SailGP

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