Anthem Appoints Richard Schaefer President of Sports Properties

Anthem Sports and Entertainment has appointed global combat sports executive Richard Schaefer president of its sports properties, which are to be re-organized as a separate operating group under the name Anthem Sports Group Inc. (ASG).

These properties include ASG’s Impact Wrestling promotion, all-female MMA organization Invicta Fighting Championships, and Fight Network, the 24/7 combat sports channel.

Anthem also owns Gravitas Ventures.

Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in the combat sports and boxing realm, Schaefer will oversee ASG and play a key role in building strategic partnerships and relationships with leading sponsors, brands, agents and athletes in the industry.

“Under Schaefer, ASG will aggressivly pursue additional acquisitions in the combat sports and professional wrestling businesses,” according to a company press release. “Schaefer’s wide-ranging background in professional boxing will also be leveraged to establish a boxing promotion platform.”

“Richard Schaefer is a major force in the combat sports and boxing arena,” Leonard Asper, Anthem president and CEO, said in a statement. “As one of the industry’s most-respected executives, he leads with integrity and brings an unprecedented wealth of expertise — cultivated from more than two decades working alongside the sport’s biggest brands and most legendary fighters. Anthem is pleased to welcome him to our executive team as the President of Anthem Sports Group, and we look forward to reaching even greater heights as a global sports powerhouse under his guidance.”

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“I am beyond thrilled to be joining the Anthem team and ASG. Len Asper, Ed Nordholm, Scott D’Amore and Shannon Knapp have built a fantastic business, and I am honored to be working with them,” Schaefer said in a statement. “Together, we will create a global destination which attracts the best talent and delivers the most exciting content across all aspects of combat sports. All of our assets under the ASG umbrella will create new and innovative synergies when dealing with distribution platforms, sponsors, venues and fan interaction.”

Schaefer has previously served as the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. Over his 20-plus years in the combat sports space, he promoted or advised such stars as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo Alvarez and UFC superstar Jon Jones. Helming more than 527 promoted events, he is one of the leading all-time promoters in boxing.

Anthem has also brought in two senior executives and promoted Scott D’Amore to president of Impact Wrestling to highlight its goal of growing the Sports Group.  D’Amore and Shannon Knapp, the president of Invicta FC, will report to Schaefer.

“Scott has established himself as the leader of Impact Wrestling since joining us in 2018, re-establishing the promotion as one of the finest professional wrestling promotions in the world,” Ed Nordholm, chief corporate officer of Anthem, said in a statement.

Schaefer will be working with former WWE and Cirque du Soleil executive Lou D’Angeli, who has joined Anthem Sports Group as VP of Marketing. In this role, D’Angeli is overseeing all aspects of marketing, advertising, promotion and public relations for ASG.

D’Angeli has more than 25 years of experience in event marketing and promotion, having served as VP of marketing for Cirque du Soleil, where he was responsible for all marketing, advertising, public relations and digital media strategy for North America. Additionally, he served as director of marketing for WWE, developing and implementing all national advertising strategies, social media initiatives, and fan festivals and experiential events.

“In just a few months, Lou has been a leader in increasing awareness and attendance at both IMPACT Wrestling and Invicta FC events,” Nordholm said in a statement. “With his past experience in event promotion and marketing at such iconic brands, we are very lucky to have Lou on the team and his expertise is already providing dividends.”

Anthem also announced that Mike Pine and Talon Partnerships have been retained by ASG as strategic advisors, focused on securing sponsorships and new revenue initiatives for Impact Wrestling and Invicta FC. While Pine and Talon’s initial emphasis will be placed on the Sports Group properties, Talon’s scope will also include Anthem’s diverse entertainment offerings.

Previously, Pine has held the head of global sales/chief revenue officer positions for four separate billion-dollar companies. Under Pine’s leadership, Talon clients have ranged from sports and entertainment properties and influencers to NCAA and professional athletes.

“Mike is a true combat sports veteran, having worked with several world leaders in the MMA and professional wrestling industries,” added Nordholm. “In addition to his expansive knowledge, he comes armed with unparalleled insight and ideas that go outside the box — forming strategic partnerships and initiatives that fit the mission of each brand, while exponentially growing awareness and revenue. We are confident that the talented team that we have assembled under Mr. Schaefer’s leadership is well-positioned to expand our offerings in the combat sports arena, utilizing world-class IP directed at combat sports enthusiasts.”

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