09.07.20 News Features

Oakwell Sports Advisory, a specialist corporate finance advisory firm that solves commercial challenges in sport, announces the appointment of Andrew Croker as Chairman of its Advisory Board.

Oakwell, which is the retained advisor to CVC Capital Partners on its rugby investments, continues to grow strongly and Andrew’s appointment reflects its global ambitions. Oakwell’s growth means it continues to recruit at all levels of the business.

Andrew is a very well-known figure in the sports management and media business, with over forty years’ experience. He has worked with many of the biggest rights holders, media owners, agencies and sports brands in the world. He worked for Ladbrokes, Cheerleader – who introduced an unsuspecting UK audience to American Football, Sportal and Sportfive. Andrew was the first Head of Sport at BSB, the forerunner to Sky Sports, and started and ran IMG’s global football division.

In 2007, as Executive Chairman, he co-founded the digital sports rights agency, Perform Group, now DAZN, the live and on-demand sports streaming service. He remains an adviser to Stats Perform, the leading sports data and streaming service. He also consulted to Hawk-Eye for ten years until 2019, focussing on the introduction of technology into football, and was also Chairman of Play Sports Group, which included the Global Cycling Network – the world’s leading community of cycling fans – until its sale to Discovery Networks in 2019.

Andrew Umbers, co-Founder and Partner of Oakwell Sports Advisory, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Andrew to the Oakwell team. We share the same goals; to advise, protect and grow sport for its stewards, participants and fans and establish strategies and partnerships that facilitate this.

His appointment reflects our global ambition and to be the go-to advisor in solving sport’s commercial challenges. Our recruitment continues, and we are ideally placed to advise third party capital, sports bodies and their ecosystems in the UK, Europe, Asia and the US.”

Andrew Croker said:

“The sports industry was already at a tipping point, which has only been accelerated by the current crisis. Federations and rights holders are facing huge structural and financial challenges, the traditional agency model is failing, linear television is rapidly migrating to OTT services, and the sponsorship model is radically changing.

The appeal of joining Oakwell is their expertise and original thinking in this area, particularly in-depth analysis and valuation, financial modeling, advice on restructuring and strategy, and access to partnership-style capital. You only have to look at their track record, and who they work with.”

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