Grace Blue, the global executive search and M&A advisory firm, today announced it has expanded into the sports industry to target leadership at sports agencies, teams, venues, and leagues, as well as eSports, media, and technology companies. The launch comes in conjunction with industry veteran Eric Guthoff joining the agency as Partner. Guthoff comes to Grace Blue with deep expertise as a long-time entrepreneur and sports marketer, having most recently led GlideSlope, a global sports advisory firm he co-founded in 2010.

Grace Blue will bring its expansive network and specialized experience to help organizations proactively plan for the talent they need now and the talent they need in the future. New roles are being created across the sports industry in areas where Grace Blue has strong expertise, including digital, content production, e-commerce, analytics, data utilization, influencer marketing, and technology strategy.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the North American sports industry alone is projected to grow to over $78 billion by 2021. This growth will be impacted by the evolving fan experience inside and outside stadiums and driven by patrons who are able to control where, when, and how they consume content. Additionally, sports organizations and brands are looking to create new revenue streams by tapping top talent in media, technology, and digital. Grace Blue believes organizations will need to diversify their talent pool, expand their core capabilities, and increasingly broaden where and how they look for talent in order to fully capitalize on the growth ahead.

“There is an incredible convergence in the world of sports, media, and technology right now. Grace Blue will help sports marketers proactively recruit transformative leadership talent and acquire the companies that will keep them ahead of the evolving landscape,” said Claire Telling, co-CEO of Grace Blue. “We are also thrilled to welcome Eric to lead our expansion into such an exciting and innovative sector. His background, combined with our reach into forward-thinking agencies, consultancies, and Silicon Valley, will be a powerful solution for sports marketers.”

“I joined Grace Blue because they have the know-how and capabilities to prepare the industry I’m passionate about in an evolving market,” said Guthoff. “Talent is the bridge that will take sports organizations into the future, but the current pool lacks diversity and often falls short in areas such as digital marketing, data utilization, and content strategy—all critical to growth in this new world.”

Prior to Grace Blue, Guthoff co-founded GlideSlope, a boutique marketing agency in global sport, and led it through an acquisition by CSM Sport & Entertainment in 2017. There he led the business development and talent acquisition strategy and built a diverse global network across the sports landscape of brands, agencies, rights holders, media, and technology companies. Eric also worked in the Consulting divisions at Octagon and IMG (Endeavor), two of the largest sports and entertainment marketing agencies in the world building multi-channels strategies for clients across the sports, entertainment, and lifestyle spaces.

SOURCE: Grace Blue