Longtime media executives David Levy and Chris Weil are launching a new marketing agency with Horizon Media that aims to capitalize on the shift they see already underway for sports advertising.
Horizon Sports & Entertainment (HS&E) wants to focus on marketing beyond TV ads and stadium signage, which Levy called “table bets.” Instead, it will seek to create opportunities around new events, IP creation and experiential marketing, both in the physical world and in the metaverse.
Levy, former president of Turner Broadcasting, and Weil, president of Momentum Worldwide, will serve as co-CEOs and equity partners, along with Horizon Media.
“It’s not going to be your standard 30-second TV spot,” Levy said in an interview. “And the timing was perfect. Private equity firms are investing heavily in sports franchises, new leagues are emerging and NIL rights are here. This space is growing very fast, and they will need companies like us.’
The team will not start from scratch. Horizon is absorbing parts of the portfolio, including more than 30 employees and an existing customer base. Horizon’s newly launched metaverse consultancy, Chapter & Verse, will be part of the HS&E business, as will Horizon’s lifestyle agency Scout Sports and Entertainment. Michael Neuman, who runs Scout, will become HS&E’s executive vice president.
The agency aims to combine the expertise of its three sponsors: Levy in content creation and sales, Weil in experiential marketing and Horizon CEO/founder Bill Koenigsberg in brand building. Citing an example of what HS&E can do, Levy mentioned The Match, a golf franchise he helped create at Turner. The match was launched in 2018 via new IP, with media partners, corporate sponsors and the buy-in of the sport’s biggest stars. Its seventh iteration will take place next month.
Levy, who founded the sports consulting and investment firm Back Nine Ventures, spent nearly three decades at parent Time Warner Turner, where he led the company’s portfolio of networks, ad sales and distribution. He also oversaw Turner Sports from 2003 until his departure in 2019. He is currently the President of Genius Sports (NYSE: GENI) and will continue in that role.
Weil spent two decades as Momentum’s president and CEO until his recent departure. While serving in this role, the agency grew from two offices to 30 global locations, eventually managing more than $5 trillion in sponsor assets. Weil said in a statement that the industry needs an agency that can blend traditional marketing with new opportunities in web3, the decentralized future of the internet, including blockchain technology.
“Given the fundamental shifts in consumer attitudes and behaviors that continue to drive the evolution of the brand experience, both physical and digital, I believe Web3 will be the ‘Web of experience,'” Weil said. “So we’re creating a company that will be at the forefront of Web3 monetization in this combined physical-digital world.”
HS&E’s launch coincides with Horizon’s recent expansion. In recent months the company launched a new consultancy called Green Thread, and bought a stake in digital experiences agency First Tube Media, which will work closely with HS&E.