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  • Writer's pictureDan Rossetti


Simon Sports, a Michigan-based sports investment firm, has reached an agreement to buy assets from The Players Impact (TPI), creating a joint venture with the global athlete-backed investment community.

The TPI investment is one of several investments Simon Sports has made within the last two years.

Last month, the company joined Bright Path Sports’ £105 million ($133 million) investment in Ipswich Town Football Club as a lead investor. Bright Path Sports Partners, a private equity firm that raises and deploys capital from Native American backers, paired with Simon in acquiring a 40% minority stake in Ipswich Town, which competes in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football. The club sits in second place in the Championship table, with a chance to earn promotion to the Premier League. This capital investment will be used to invest in the staff, the stadium, and the practice facility, according to Peter Simon, the President of Simon Sports.

Ipswich Town isn’t the only sports team Simon Sports has invested in. Last February, the firm acquired the Halifax Mooseheads hockey team of the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League, and in 2022 it invested in a West Coast junior hockey league, slated to begin play in late 2024. Simon Sports says it will also launch a junior team in Las Vegas with the NHL’s Golden Knights under the U.S. tier-based system in the 2025-2026 season.

Launched in 2022, Simon Sports serves as an umbrella for Sam Simon and his son Peter’s sports ventures. Simon, who immigrated from Iraq to the United States in 1972, made his fortune in oil and gas distribution. While working in gas stations as a teenager, Simon decided to launch a local delivery service for oil and gas, according to his son.

“He charged $30,000 to a credit card to buy a truck, branded as Atlas, file this paperwork and then started delivering oil to local gas stations in 1985,” Peter Simon said in a video call. Today, Atlas Oil Co. is a national company that delivers over 2 billion gallons a year.

Atlas Oil’s success led Simon to form a family office, Simon Group Holdings (SGH), which invests in numerous industries including gas, oil, real estate, insurance, and sports. According to S&P Capital IQ database, SGH invests between $5 million to $100 million in its portfolio companies.

“Both my dad and I are passionate about sports,” Peter Simon said. “We decided to create a sports investment firm, similar to Fenway Sports Group, which can own and operate sports teams but also invest in the future of sports.”

On the tech front, Simon Sports has investments in Mark Cuban-backed fan engagement platform Fireside and golf-focused fitness app Golf Mind and Body. The recent partnership with TPI is Simon Sports’ third investment in sports tech.

TPI, co-founded by Tracy Deforge seven years ago, works with athletes to help them build and support their post-career earnings. Among its members are three-time Super Bowl champion Lonnie Paxton, former NBA player Maurice Evans, and former NHL players Shawn Thornton and Alex Biega.

Through the asset acquisition, TPI and Simon Sports will establish a joint venture designed to accelerate the growth of TPI’s mission and model globally. They declined to provide financial terms of the deal, but Simon Sports said its strategic investment will help TPI scale its business and will offer deal flow opportunities to athletes. Under the terms of the partnership, Deforge will continue to serve as CEO of TPI, while Sam Simon will assume the role of chairman of the board of TPI.

“We invest in what we believe in,” Simon said. “And we believe in The Players Impact. This additional capital will just enhance what they’re currently doing.”

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