GF Sports, a live events and sports media entertainment company, announced today the hiring of Jim Burda as Chief Business Officer for the New York Riptide of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for GF Sports. Burda joins GF Sports with more than 20 years experience in the sports industry, having held executive positions at Wilson Sporting Goods and the WNBA’s Chicago Sky.
The NLL awarded the New York franchise to GF Sports in December 2018. The Riptide will play home games at NYCB LIVE, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum when it begins play in December for the 2019-20 NLL season. The Riptide are part of GF Sports’ growing portfolio of live sports and entertainment properties and events, which includes ATP World Tour tournaments the New York Open and BB&T Atlanta Open, and the Wolf Pack Ninja properties, which produces ninja events globally.
“We are excited to have Jim join the GF Sports team as we continue to elevate and expand our collection of premier live sports and entertainment properties and events,” said Gary Fuhrman, Managing Partner at GF Capital and Board Member of GF Sports. “Jim’s track record of success establishing high-level marketing partnerships, driving ticket sales and establishing impactful community programs will be incredibly valuable as we launch the New York Riptide and look for ways to further grow and commercialize our other properties.”
In his role as Chief Business Officer of the Riptide, Jim Burda will oversee all facets of the team’s ticketing, sponsorship, marketing, and community outreach efforts. Furthermore, as Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer of GF Sports, Burda will play an integral role in the revenue generating areas across all GF Sports properties.
“I am pleased to join GF Sports during this exciting time of growth for the company with the recent addition of the New York Riptide,” said Jim Burda. “I admire Gary and his team’s commitment to bringing fans first-class sports and entertainment, and look forward to working with the team to help really embed the Riptide in the New York and Long Island community.”
Prior to joining GF Sports, Burda was Chief Revenue Officer for the Chicago Sky where he led all revenue generating departments for the WNBA team, including marketing partnerships and ticket sales. Burda also oversaw community efforts for Chicago Sky Cares, the team’s nonprofit organization. Previously, he served as U.S. Director of Promotions and Partnerships for Wilson Sporting Goods. In his role with Wilson, Burda managed the U.S. Open retail program and oversaw all professional sporting exhibitions, events and promotional partnerships. In addition, Jim Burda’s experience includes serving as Regional Director for Highland Ventures, LTD, overseeing property expansion and development, sales and operations management, and human resources for more than 50 of the company’s retail, fitness and fast-casual dining stores, and earlier in his career he formed Racquets for Life, a racquet sports and retail business consulting company.
Since being awarded the Riptide in December, GF Sports has steadily been building the front office team and coaching staff. Regy Thorpe, a decorated former professional lacrosse player with more than 20 years experience as a coach and general manager at nearly every level of men’s and women’s field and box lacrosse, was named Head Coach and General Manager for the franchise. Lance Basler, the former General Manager, National Teams for US Lacrosse, joined the Riptide as Assistant General Manager and Director of Lacrosse Operations. The team also recently added Brian Hobart as Director of Scouting and Jake Henhawk as Director of Player Development.
Riptide fans can place a deposit on season ticket memberships at www.NewYorkRiptide.com or speak to a customer service representative at 516-888-6879 and follow the team @NewYorkRiptide to receive behind the scenes information as the team prepares for the 2019-20 season.
About GF Sports
GF Sports is a live events and sports media entertainment company created by New York-based private equity firm GF Capital Management & Advisors, LLC. Formed in July 2015, GF Sports owns two of the ATP World Tour’s longest running American tournaments, the New York Open and the BB&T Atlanta Open, as well as the New York National Lacrosse League expansion team. In addition, GF Sports is the major shareholder in EEM World, a global leader in equestrian event production that owns and operates the Longines Masters Series. GF Sports also incubates new and emerging sport concepts utilizing its global expertise and network to help develop niche sports. Such concepts include Wolf Pack Ninjas, which operates ninja-focused events globally. Veteran sport, media and entertainment executive Hank Ratner is a co-investor with GF Capital across the company’s various sports properties.
GF Capital makes control-oriented, growth capital investments in branded consumer product and media companies, and its investments have included a number of sports and live entertainment companies. These include Repucom, a global leader in sports measurement, evaluation and intelligence, which was sold to Nielsen in 2016 and Blue Man Group, the world-renowned entertainment company which was sold to Cirque du Soleil in 2017.
For additional information, please visit www.gfcap.com.
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