Longtime media executives David Levy and Chris Weil are launching a marketing agency with Horizon Media, which aims to take advantage of the ongoing shift in sports advertising.
Horizon Sports & Experiences (HS&E) plans to focus on marketing beyond television ads and stadium signage, which Levy calls “tabletop challenges.” Instead, it looks to create opportunities around new events, IP creation and experiential marketing – both in the physical world and at scale.
Levy, former president of Turner Broadcasting, and Weil, chairman of Momentum International, will serve as co-CEOs and equity partners with Horizon Media.
“They’re not going to be your standard 30-second TV spots,” Levy told Sportico in an interview. “And the timing couldn’t be better. Private equity firms are investing heavily in sports franchises, new leagues are being established and the NFL rights are here. This space is growing rapidly, and they need companies like us.”
The team does not start from scratch. Along with more than 30 employees and an existing customer base, he is taking on parts of the Horizon portfolio. Horizon’s newly launched Metaverse Advisory Chapter and Number will become part of the HS&E business, as well as Horizon’s lifestyle agency Scout Sports and Entertainment. Michael Neumann, who heads Scout, will become executive vice president at HS&E.
The agency’s goal is to combine the three backers — Levy on content creation and sales, Weil on marketing and Horizon’s CEO and founder Bill Koenigsberg on brand building. As an example of the type of things HS&E could pursue, Levy cited The Match, a golf franchise that Turner helped create. The match began in 2018 with the purchase of new IP, media partners, corporate sponsors and the sport’s biggest stars. The seventh iteration will be held next month.
Levy, who founded sports consultancy and investments Back Nine Ventures, spent nearly three decades at Turner parent Time Warner, where he led the company’s network portfolio, ad sales and distribution. He oversaw Turner Sports from 2003 until his departure in 2019. He is currently the Chairman of Genius Sports and will continue in that role.
Weil spent two decades as chairman and CEO of Momentum until his recent departure. In doing so, the agency grew from two offices to 30 global locations, ultimately managing more than $5 billion in sponsorship assets. In a statement, he said the industry needs an agency that can blend traditional marketing with new opportunities in Web 3, the internet’s decentralized future term, including blockchain technology.
“Given the fundamental changes in consumer attitudes and behaviors that drive the evolution of product experiences—both physical and digital—I believe Web3 will become the ‘Web of Experience,'” Weil said. “So we’re creating a company that will be at the forefront of monetizing Web3 in this converged physical-digital world.”
HS&E’s launch dovetails with Horizon’s latest expansion. In the past few months, the company has formed a consultancy called Green Thread and bought a controlling stake in First Tube Media, a digital experiences agency that works closely with HS&E.
(Photo: David Levy)