Altius Sports Partners Acquired by underdog & company, backed by NewSpring Holdings
Deal represents underdog’s commitment to fostering valuable partnerships between athletes, brands, and universities
NEW YORK, NY (Nov 6, 2023) – underdog & company (“underdog”), an innovative marketing services firm serving the sports, media, entertainment, and non-profit sectors, announced today that it has acquired Altius Sports Partners (“Altius” or “ASP”), a market leading advisor to collegiate athletics departments. This transformative acquisition comes on the heels of underdog’s partnership announcement in June 2023 with NewSpring Holdings, Philadelphia-based private equity firm NewSpring’s majority investment strategy, and propels Altius into a new era of growth and innovation for universities, brands and athletes.
Since its inception in 2020, Altius has established itself as a trusted and influential force in collegiate athletics. The ASP College division provides its university clients with industry-leading education, strategic guidance, and execution support for the evolving governance and commercial aspects of college sports— including Name, Image and Likeness (“NIL”) programs—to more than 35 partners, including nearly half of the Power Five institutions. The complementary ASP Brands division helps companies, including Powerade, Shake Shack, and the NBC Sports Group, plan and execute national marketing campaigns involving college athletes.
The Altius team, which will remain fully intact, will benefit from a substantial influx of talent from underdog to help enhance and expand its service offerings across both the ASP College and the ASP Brands divisions. The combination of underdog’s robust sports marketing capabilities and expansive network with Altius’ proven track record of helping universities navigate the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape will enable even more brands to execute impactful national marketing campaigns in partnership with college athletes.
“Our success to date is a testament to our exceptional staff, advisors, founders, and partners, but we’re just getting started,” says Casey Schwab, CEO and Founding Partner of Altius. “This is a pivotal moment in collegiate athletics, and with financial backing from NewSpring and support from Dan Mannix and the underdog team, Altius is prepared to meet the moment and help our partners win on and off the field.”
“We find ourselves in a dynamic era of transformation within college sports, brimming with potential. The acquisition of Altius merges our collective experience, creating fresh opportunities for schools, athletes, and brands,” says Dan Mannix, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of underdog. “We’re thrilled to add Altius to our growing network and look forward to working with Casey and his team to pave the way to add greater value to our brand and athlete partnerships.”
“The rise of NIL as an emerging and important space within the overall sports marketing landscape was a key part of our investment thesis with underdog,” says Daniel Salvato, Principal at NewSpring Holdings. “Altius Sports Partners is already a driving force in college sports, and we are delighted to help accelerate its growth.”
As part of underdog’s acquisition of Altius, Playfly Sports sold its minority share of the Altius business. “We thank Playfly for their support as a strategic partner in helping Altius get to this stage of growth and look forward to working with them in the future,” said Schwab.
About underdog & company
underdog & company is an innovative marketing services and brand experience firm powered by NewSpring Holdings that serves the sports, media, entertainment, and social impact/non-profit industries. underdog & company and its network of passionate, diverse companies and individuals, create brand building solutions for their client partners. underdog provides an award-winning mix of brand building services that include strategic and creative planning, integrated marketing and storytelling brand experiences and events, and strategic partnerships. For more information about underdog & company, please visit underdogandcompany.com.
About Altius Sports Partners
Since its inception in 2020, Altius Sports Partners (“Altius” or “ASP”) has become a leading advisor to elite collegiate athletics programs. Altius provides comprehensive solutions to elevate industry standards and promote excellence through its network of more than 35 Division I athletics departments, including nearly half of the Power Five institutions. ASP College offers strategic consulting services and an on-campus GM Program, featuring education, resources, and staffing for the evolving college sports landscape, including NIL. Altius has on-campus personnel at 16 institutions, and the GM Program, now including an Athlete Services Division, is considered the industry standard. In addition to NIL, Altius offers guidance on various complex issues, including licensing, sponsorship, agent relations, employment, labor, collective bargaining, and Title IX. ASP Brands facilitates collaboration between brands and athletes, executing national NIL campaigns. Altius’s reach extends through strategic partnerships with organizations like Women Leaders in Sports, the NFL, the NFL Players Association, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and the NBC Sports Group. Altius’s distinguished advisory board of notable figures in the sports industry including Jessica Mendoza, Kenneth Shropshire, Renie Anderson, Malcolm Turner, Jene Elzie, and Michael Lynch, along with Altius Chairman Oliver Luck, CEO and Founding Partner Casey Schwab, Founding Partner and Media Expert John Entz, and Educational Consultant and Legal Expert Gabe Feldman. To learn more, visit altiussportspartners.com.
About NewSpring Holdings
NewSpring Holdings, NewSpring Capital’s dedicated holding company with a strategy focused on control buyouts and platform builds, brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and resources to take profitable, growing companies to the next level through acquisitions and proven organic methodologies. Founded in 1999, NewSpring partners with the innovators, makers, and operators of high-performing companies in dynamic industries to catalyze new growth and seize compelling opportunities. The Firm manages over $3 billion across five distinct strategies covering the spectrum from growth equity and control buyouts to mezzanine debt. Partnering with management teams to help develop their businesses into market leaders, NewSpring identifies opportunities and builds relationships using its network of industry leaders and influencers across a wide array of operational areas and industries. Visit NewSpring at www.newspringcapital.com.