WINSTON-SALEM, NC (FEBRUARY 28, 2018)—The Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily have selected Ben C. Sutton, Jr. to be a member of its coveted group of “The Champions: Pioneers and Innovators in Sports Business.” Sutton founded and serves as Chairman and managing partner of Teall Capital, a private equity company created in 2017 and based in Winston-Salem, NC; Atlanta, GA; and San Francisco, CA.
Sutton, widely respected as one of the most accomplished entrepreneurs and business leaders in the sports and entertainment industry, is profiled in the February 26 issue of the Sports Business Journal and will officially receive the award at the 2018 World Congress of Sports conference in Los Angeles on April 17, where he also will participate in a panel discussion with fellow “Champions” inductees about their experiences in the sports industry.
Sutton founded ISP Sports in Winston-Salem in 1992, and after rapidly becoming the industry leader in collegiate sports marketing, broadcast, publishing, sponsorship services, ticketing and stadium seating, the company merged with IMG College in 2010. Upon that merger, Sutton immediately became Chairman and President of IMG College, serving in those roles and overseeing its integration and growth until September 2015, when he became Chairman emeritus. Sutton then left IMG College at the end of 2016 to focus his efforts on the creation and development of Teall Capital and working with the next generation of leaders and game-changing businesses.
In their letter to Sutton informing him of his selection for “The Champions” award, Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily publisher Richard Weiss and executive editor Abe Madkour said, “This award was established by Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily to recognize the architects and builders of our industry. It’s a program that we’re very proud of, as it allows us to honor executives who have spent a lifetime devoted to our industry.”
“’The Champions’ are a special group of individuals selected for their outstanding body of work throughout their career,” Weiss and Madkour said. “You are being honored for making a distinct and sustainable impact on the sports industry, for a record of achievement and for being a mentor and leader to so many, earning industry respect and admiration. This award is a true testament to your pioneering spirit.”
“It’s a profound honor to be recognized by sports industry peers at the Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily and to be included in this select group of “Champions” who have really distinguished themselves as innovators, creators and entrepreneurs in our industry,” Sutton said. “Beginning with my first job out of law school in the athletics department at my alma mater Wake Forest University, my entire career has been devoted to building teams, dynamic cultures and competitive enterprises in the sports industry.”
During his career, Sutton is credited for creating the collegiate multi-media rights business as the industry knows it today. Under his leadership, most of the IMG College portfolio consisted of the three national, market-leading businesses that Sutton and team grew from their infancy at ISP Sports. By the time he stepped down as President in 2015, IMG College was a nearly billion dollar enterprise including national market leading companies in Multi-media (TV, radio, experiential, digital, out-of-home, publishing and more) representing over 100 major universities and conferences; Ticketing (now IMG Learfield Ticketing) with nearly 50 college partners; IMG College Seating (which ISP acquired in 2009 with about a dozen partnerships and expanded to over 150 universities and NASCAR venues); and IMG College Licensing (formerly Collegiate Licensing Company founded by previous Champions inductee, Bill Battle).
By the time Sutton had made his mark on IMG College, the company managed multi-media rights for 37 of the 65 College Football Playoff equity conference schools and over 75 Football Bowl Subdivision schools and conferences. Through its stadium seating, ticketing and licensing divisions, the company also represented more than 200 schools, venues and conferences. After leading IMG College to over 300% growth in both revenue and earnings, and driving a significant increase in IMG’s overall valuation, Sutton helped engineer the sale of parent company IMG Worldwide to WME/Silver Lake Capital for $2.4 billion in 2014.
Earlier last year, Teall Capital announced the acquisition of a significant interest in Alabama-based Tailgate Guys, which provides turnkey hospitality packages to fans. Since Teall invested in Tailgate Guys, that company has experienced meteoric growth, nearly quadrupling in size and is on track to more than double in size again by fall 2018. During the latter part of 2017, Teall announced the acquisition of millennial-centered agency Riddle & Bloom, a specialized “Ideas and Access” agency that helps its clients market to the growing demographic of next generation consumers, and Sunshine Beverages, a functional, performance-based energy beverage.
In December 2017, Teall formed Dyehard Fan Supply with Team Retail Solutions as its first acquisition followed soon afterwards by the acquisitions of SEE (Sports Entertainment Events) Merchandising and, in early 2018, All Pro Championships Merchandising. With the three acquisitions and anticipated additional investments, Dyehard offers an expansive national network of best-in-class merchandise capabilities that will provide the finest quality retail experience for fans and customers at sports, music and entertainment events.
About Ben C. Sutton, Jr.
The founder of ISP Sports and former Chairman and President of IMG College, Ben Sutton was recently inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and is a member of the boards of the United States Olympic Committee, Ronald Reagan Presidential, National Football and Naismith Basketball foundations. He also serves as a director with the Wyndham PGA Championship, the Falk School of Sports Management at Syracuse University and is a trustee at his alma mater, Wake Forest University. Sutton has received numerous awards including the Wake Forest University Distinguished Alumni Award, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine (highest civilian honor in North Carolina), induction into the NACMA hall of fame, as well as being named one of the top or most powerful sports executives in America by numerous publications.
About Teall Capital
Teall Capital is a privately-held set of investments in innovative, high growth potential lifestyle brands and services. The company’s leadership has extensive experience in sports, media, marketing and entertainment, and the group provides its operating companies deep expertise in a number of disciplines: corporate strategy, organizational management, culture and training, financial strategy, employee operations, recruiting and expert legal diligence.
Teall Capital is led by Ben C. Sutton, Jr. and an executive management team that built and expanded four national market-leading businesses in the college sports space: IMG College Multi-media, IMG College Seating, IMG Licensing and IMG Learfield Ticketing. Teall invests in complementary organizations that can strategically work together to realize greater value, sharing in expertise, thought leadership and networks.