O’Melveny Advises Athletes Unlimited in Plan to Disrupt Professional Team SportsApril 02, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK—April 2, 2020—O’Melveny advised client Athletes Unlimited and its co-founders Jon Patricof and Jonathan Soros on their launch and strategic plan to “disrupt professional team sports.” The company will launch a series of leagues across different sports with an innovative new model of competition, starting with women’s softball in August 2020.
Athletes Unlimited seeks to upend the traditional ownership model in team sports. Investors in the company will be capped in their financial return so that the athletes will earn more of the profits as the league succeeds, and athletes will participate in company governance and key decision making. Athletes Unlimited will also offer professional development resources to help players expand their career opportunities, as well as engage a number of non-profit partners.
Athletes Unlimited leagues will feature a range of innovations to bring athletes and fans a unique and intense version of the sport. The inaugural six-week softball season will be held entirely at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont, Illinois starting August 17 and will feature the world’s best professional softball players.
“The O’Melveny team was delighted to advise Athletes Unlimited on its strategic vision as a disrupter in the sports league space,” said O’Melveny partner and Sports Industry Group co-chair Chuck Baker, who led the O’Melveny team.
Baker added, “We are optimistic that this unique structure for a professional sports league, along with the phenomenal athletes competing in and running the league, will take the industry by storm and be a model that other sports leagues will seek to emulate.”
The O’Melveny team also included partner Chris Del Rosso, counsel Eric Geffner, Aaron Cha, and Andrew Banks, as well as associate Timothy Carr.
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Athletes Unlimited issued the following press release:
ATHLETES UNLIMITED ANNOUNCES PRO SPORTS LEAGUES LAUNCH WITH NEW MODEL
March 3, 2020, New York, New York -- Athletes Unlimited announced its formation today with a plan to disrupt professional team sports. The company will launch a series of leagues across different sports with an innovative new model of competition, starting with softball in August 2020.
The inaugural six-week season will be held entirely at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont, Illinois starting August 17 and will feature the world’s best professional softball players. AJ Andrews, Kelly Barnhill, Kylan Becker, Caleigh Clifton, Emily Crane, Sara Groenewegen, Victoria Hayward, Abby Ramirez, Jade Rhodes, Randi Rupp, DJ Sanders, Samantha Show, Gwen Svekis and Haylie Wagner are among the athletes who have already signed on to play.
“I can’t wait to take part in this league so that we can showcase our talents and our stories to our growing fan base,” said Victoria Hayward, who is captain of Team Canada, one of six teams competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“ATHLETES UNLIMITED IS SUCH AN EXCITING NEW MODEL OF PRO SPORTS WHERE ATHLETES ARE OWNERS, THE SCORING MODEL DELIVERS EXCITEMENT WITH EVERY PLAY AND WHERE ALL FANS ARE WELCOME”
- Victoria Hayward, Team Canada
“I am excited for this opportunity to entertain the fans of our sport, and even more ecstatic to be a part of the creation of a league that I am confident will one day change the way in which sports are viewed,” said Gwen Svekis, who was the third pick in 2018 National Pro Fastpitch Draft, an All-NPF Catcher (2019) and three-time Women’s College World Series participant.
Athletes Unlimited leagues will feature a range of innovations to bring athletes and fans a unique and intense version of the sport. Individual athletes earn points based on team wins and individual performance and become the champions in team sports. Points can be earned on every play and the leaderboard changes constantly. In addition, the teams will change each week, with the top four athletes in the standings serving as captains and drafting their teams.
“Pro sports fans want faster, more exciting, and more meaningful games - and newer, expanded ways to engage with the players they love,” said CEO and Co-Founder Jon Patricof. “We literally change the game with faster play and fluid teams, delivering next-level competition and engagement.”
Athletes Unlimited also seeks to upend the traditional ownership model in team sports. Investors in the company will be capped in their financial return so that the athletes will earn more and more of the profits as the league succeeds, and athletes will participate in company governance. Co-Founder Jonathan Soros said of the plan,
“OUR ATHLETES ARE PATHBREAKERS WHO DESERVE TO SHARE IN THE LONG-TERM VALUE THEY HELP CREATE FOR THE PLAYERS THAT FOLLOW IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS.”
Athletes Unlimited will offer professional development resources to help players expand their career opportunities, as well as engage a number of non-profit partners. “Our vision is to make pro sports a place where athletes unlock their unlimited potential to inspire and deliver excellence on and off the field,” said Patricof.
For more information about Athletes Unlimited, our inaugural Softball League and additional announcements, please sign up at www.auprosports.com or follow us @auprosports on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
About Athletes Unlimited
Athletes Unlimited is a new model of pro sports where athletes are decision-makers and individual players are champions of team sports. We literally change the game with faster play and fluid teams, delivering next-level competition and engagement. Beginning in 2020 with women’s softball with other sports to follow soon thereafter, Athletes Unlimited will build the next generation of both athletes and fans.
ATHLETES UNLIMITED SOFTBALL FACTS
56 of the world’s best players will be invited to participate in Athletes Unlimited Softball.
Intense six-week season
All athletes train and play together in one location. Players are drafted onto one of four teams and play multiple games each week. After the first week of orientation, combine and training, the season will commence with five weeks of games during which each player will play in three games with their team for that week, 15 games for the season. Each week will see six games played across the league.
New scoring system based on players, not teams
Individual players earn points based on team wins AND individual performance. Points can be earned on every play and the leaderboard changes constantly. Players will earn points in each game based on team game and inning wins, MVPs of the game (three per game) and individual stats calculated via simple offensive and pitching metrics.
Players will receive end-of-season bonuses based on the individual standings. Fans can follow the Athletes Unlimited Leaderboard in real-time stats both at home and at the stadium for casual gaming opportunities.
Weekly Rosters: Players Change Teams Every Week
Every week starts with a new draft. The top four players on the leaderboard are selected as team captains and pick who will play on their team for the week
Athletes Unlimited Rules
Athletes Unlimited Softball will follow the rules of National Pro Fastpitch with some exceptions. Due to the nature of the player scoring system, the bottom of the seventh inning will be played regardless of score. In addition, substitutes will be allowed to enter the game twice, rather than just once as in most other organizational rules.