For Immediate Release: September 23, 2021 Contact: Don Povia 609-213-5811
Super Bowl Champion, Former NFL All-Pro, and Golf Enthusiast TJ Ward Partners with Stix Golf Ward will serve as national spokesperson and creative director focused on live activations and expanding the game and the brand’s imprint in new markets and underserved communities.
ELGIN, IL – Today, Stix Golf announced a creative and collaborative partnership with former NFL safety TJ Ward. Ward, a former second-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns and Super Bowl winner and All-Pro with the Denver Broncos, will serve as a national spokesperson for the company and be tasked with finding ways to introduce the game via the brand to underserved communities.
Says Ward, “Since my retirement, golf has become a way of life for me. No other company in the world marries premium quality, elegant style and affordability the way Stix does. I play well and look better swinging Stix clubs.”
In addition to introducing golfers to the brand on courses across the country at tournaments and outings, Ward and Stix will explore ways to introduce the game to a new generation – one mindful of style and affordability – and in urban areas where opportunity and exposure is limited.
Added Ward, “I’m thankful to have partnered with a company whose values, passions, and ambitions align so perfectly with my own. For a sport traditionally associated with privilege and an older demographic, Stix is bold and unapologetic in being a disruptor in the market.”
Headquartered in the Chicago area, Stix is a Direct to Consumer (DTC) company, with retail pilot programs in the works. Founded on September 1, 2020, this month Stix celebrated its first birthday. For more information, visit https://stix.golf.
About Stix Golf Stix makes modern golf clubs at a fair price, challenging the current culture of over-priced equipment. The company’s design ethos disrupts the traditional look of a golfer, ushering in a modern, minimalist aesthetic, while still providing hardware that performs well and is made with premium materials. By pairing quality equipment at a fair price-point with minimalist designs, Stix is transforming the dated golf industry, creating products that embody the modern golfer and changing the way players experience a round of golf. For more information, please visit www.stix.golf, as well as on our social channels, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
From Near Tragedy to Olympic Gold, 2-Sport Star Kaleigh Gilchrist Overcomes Adversity and Offers Lesson in Dedication and Perseverance with Inspiring Journey
Following well-publicized accident and Kobe Bryant-inspired “Mamba Mission” rehabilitation, Gilchrist wins second gold medal with Team USA Water Polo.
Newport Beach, CA – As the 2020 Olympic Games come to a close, so does a chapter in the life and career of Newport Beach, California’s Kaleigh Gilchrist. Gilchrist, who lead Team USA to gold in Rio in 2016, caps off an amazing personal comeback in Tokyo with her second Olympic gold medal in water polo. Gilchrist, like all Olympians, had to deal with the uncertainty of the global pandemic, but she also was in the midst of major rehab after a well-publicized injury following the 2019 world championships in South Korea – a balcony collapse that left 2 dead and 16 injured, including Gilchrist.
Gilchrist suffered leg laceration and underwent surgery in Gwangju before returning to Southern California where she began a rehab stint during which she struck a relationship with and found a mentor in the late Kobe Bryant. Team USA trainer Larnie Boquiren dubbed Gilchrist’s rehab efforts “Mamba Mission” in homage to her local hero.
Gilchrist, in addition to being a world-class and accomplished water polo player, Is a professional surfer, splitting her time on the World Surf League Qualifying Surf Series. Her father, Sandy Gilchrist, competed for Team Canada as a swimmer in the 1964 and 1968 Summer Olympics. Her uncle, Allen Gilchrist, swam for Canada in the 1948 and 1952 Games.
From the outside, being a professional athlete seems glamorous and sexy. But, what if your name is not Michael, Kobe or Lebron?
What if the highest level of athleticism you achieve is as an almost-7-foot tall overseas professional basketball player? Overseas Famous chronicles the strangely humorous, challenging and inspiring story of former overseas professional basketball player Kevin Owens. Starting his basketball career as a senior in high school and not attending a nationally ranked collegiate program, Owens still found himself traveling across four continents, enduring the hustle of the game and the erratic lifestyle of an athlete.
Owens' journey is far from ordinary. His unbelievable stories ranging from NBA workouts guarded by one of the best and dirtiest defenders in NBA history to an unwilling participant in a lit flare toss helps the reader understand what it's actually like playing basketball overseas. Overseas Famous tackles many issues Americans deal with while playing basketball abroad, including language barriers, different styles of play, and the inevitable downfalls like missed paychecks and being ghosted by an organization after a substantial injury.
This story is an honest and entertaining tale about the travels and tribulations of playing pro basketball worldwide.
“Kevin Owens has lived a basketball life less ordinary. We often hear about professional players who are selected and celebrated early on, and who sail through the glitzy prep circuit and make it to the highest levels of the game. But as Owens' terrific book reminds us, some players have to grind and endure to make their dreams come true. And often their stories are the most entertaining.”
-Lang Whitaker currently works for the Memphis Grizzlies as the General Manager of Grizz Gaming, and as a contributor to Grind City Media. Additionally, Lang works as a contributor to GQ Magazine.
"American basketball fans 'know' about guys 'playing overseas' because it's such a common occurrence. Their favorite high school or college player can't quite stick in the NBA but isn't ready to hang up his kicks so he goes overseas. But what the hell happens over there? Given the complete dearth of coverage in American media about basketball in foreign countries, smart fans are hungry to learn what it's like. In Overseas Famous, long-time pro baller Kevin Owens teaches us, sharing the good, bad and the ugly of overseas basketball. Bonus points for a very cool foreword from the great Chucky Brown, too."
-Ben Osborne is Head Of Content at Just Women's Sports. He was previously Senior Features Editor for Fox Sports Digital, and Editor-in-Chief of Bleacher Report and SLAM (where he first got familiar with Kevin via his recurring blog posts from overseas).
Olympian Nicole Heavirland Partners with Montana-basedFolklore Coffee to Launch Limited Edition Signature Blend
Whitefish-native, who will represent USA Rugby this Summer in Tokyo, hopes project will promote local small business collaboration and entrepreneurshipas she prepares to take world stage.
Whitefish, Montana – Whitefish native Nicole Heavirland, a former USA Rugby All-American at West Point and recently-named member of Team USA’s Olympic roster, announced today the launch of her Colombian & Ethiopian Signature Blend, a collaboration with Conrad, Montana-based Folklore Coffee.
The self-professed coffee aficionado has been a longtime patron and partner of Folklore, and worked directly with company founder and head roaster Andy Pollard, along with his brother Matt, to create a blend and brand that represents her spirit, passion and heritage.
“My athletic career has literally afforded me the luxury of indulging in coffee across the globe,” noted Heavirland. “But when I began exploring the idea of developing my own signature line, I felt it was important to use the opportunity to elevate businesses and communities that matter most to me.”
The Pollards developed a blend featuring Heavirland’s preferred Ethiopian beans, while combining Colombian ones to reflect her Colombian heritage. The limited-edition black bag features both Folklore and Heavirland brand marks as well as a reproduction of Heavirland’s fish forearm tattoo (in addition to her passion for java, Heavirland is an avid fly fisherwoman and aspiring yoga instructor).
“I’ve spent a lifetime pursuing success on athletics fields. I’ve learned that life, like rugby, is a team sport. Matt, Andy and the Folklore team have been supporting me for years, and I hope through this endeavor to help them continue to gain a national footprint and, in the process, highlight one of the amazing businesses born and bred in the Big Sky State,” said Heavirland.
To order a bag of Folklore Coffee’s Nicole Heavirland Colombian & Ethiopian Signature Blend, visit https://www.folklorecoffeemt.com/nicoles-blend.html.
TSE Congratulates USA Rugby's Naya Tapper & Nicole Heavirland Tapper and Heavirland officially named to U.S. Olympic Women’s Rugby Roster
New York, NY - Transition Sports and Entertainment (TSE) is proud to congratulate two of its clients on being named to the U.S. Women's Rugby roster for the Tokyo Games. Naya Tapper and Nicole Heavirland are among the 12 US women announced by USA Rugby today to have earned roster spots.
TSE CEO Shannon Judd said, "Watching the perseverance and dedication displayed by Naya, Nicole and their teammates over the past year in the face of uncertainty has been inspirational on so many levels to so many people. These women succeed at the highest level while faced with unprecedented obstacles in a sport not yet popularized in the US because of their love and dedication. Today is recognition that their hard work has paid off and we congratulate them and look forward to being a part of their journey to Tokyo and beyond."
About Naya and Nicole Born in Beaufort, South Carolina, and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, NAYA TAPPER has played rugby professionally since 2016. After earning All-American track and field honors in high school, she began her rugby career at UNC Chapel Hill and has since become one of USA Women’s 7’s all-time leading try scorers. Her infectious personality led her to create a number of web series, as well as a successful personalized clothing line.
NICOLE HEAVIRLAND, a Whitefish, Montana native, is a former USA Rugby All-American at West Point who made her rugby sevens debut during the 2015-16 World Rugby Women’s 7’s Series. She traveled as a reserve to the 2016 Brazil Olympics before being named USA Rugby Women’s 7’s Captain in 2017. Nicole is training to become a yoga instructor, has a signature line of coffee coming out with a Montana-based roaster, and is an avid fly fisher.
The TSE Culture Club is a semi-regular feature in which a member of our #TSEFam will expand upon a specific element of culture that is meaningful to them and how it's helped shape their personal or professional outlooks.First up, our President Don Povia.
I've always had an eclectic taste in music. For about the past 15 years, though, as I've aged and reflected back on my life and the roads I've traveled, I've more and more embraced outlaw country, both its music and its attitude.
If you look at my IG feed and see some of the below names, it probably induces eye rolls. But the path to Texas honky tonk from Trenton, New Jersey isn't as absurd as it sounds. It began, as most things in New Jersey do, with the Boss. Springsteen brought me to Johnny Cash who brought me to Willie Nelson who landed me squarely behind Waylon and Merle. While that's the story I always tell, the truth is, it was my father, not Springsteen, who planted the real seeds.
As a youngster, he listened to some weird music. None of which included any of the aforementioned legends, but rather, the much less mainstream likes of Dr. Hook and Medicine Show and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. I was certain he was the only one in the world who had ever heard of them, much less owned their cassette tapes.
In passing one day when he heard me talking about a trip to Austin, TX, he mentioned the music scene he used to partake in while in the Army at a place in ATX called the Armadillo World Headquarters. Of course, while there I searched for the place and never found it (it had been closed for decades). At the airport on the way home, however, staring at me from a bookstore in an Austin–Bergstrom terminal was a book called, well, Armadillo World Headquarters by the venue's founder Eddie Wilson.
On the flight home, I about finished the book. In it were stories, images and artwork of not only Dr. Hook and Commander Cody, but also Bruce, Willie and Waylon.
What really struck me, however, was the culture that Wilson tapped into and that Willie personified. It married the seemingly unconducive combination of counter-culture hippies and Texas cowboys.
If you go back to what brought the outlaw scene (as it became known) via Willie and Waylon out of Nashville and back through Austin was the fact that those two artists specifically wanted to play music they loved in styles of their own, not what was being over-produced in Music City. Simply put: the freedom to be themselves and carve their own paths and legacies, not what others perceived those should have been. What hippie or cowboy wouldn't buy into that?
If you have to work in life, to me, that attitude, that creative and professional freedom, is the only way to live. Music that I organically gravitated towards, regardless of who or what planted the seeds, started shaping my personal outlook.
The first half of my life, I feel I was trying to live (and work) how everyone else expected me to. For the last decade, at least, I decided we have but one life to live, and if I want to carve a legacy, nonetheless be happy, I needed to stop caring about trends, and allow my talent and passion to guide me where it would rather than try to make them conform to the structures around me.
To quote a modern day Outlaw, Cody Jinks:
I've been standing on the outside for all of my life But I like the view, I'm not gonna lie Yeah, the yuppies and the hipsters and the wannabe scenes That ain't down home to me... Raising hell with the hippies and the cowboys They don't care about no trends They don't care about songs that sell
That's why I chose axes for Transition's logo: to raise hell and break the norms. It doesn't mean to be disrespectful or literally destructive, but it's a reminder that if there's something that I don't like or agree with, I have the tools to break it down and resurrect it the way I want to.
Incubator, venture studio, and mentorship network for athlete-owned businesses
New York, NY -- The Players Impact (TPI) and Transition Sports & Entertainment(TSE) have opened its submission period for the 2020 TPI Transition Academy, an incubator, venture studio, and mentorship network for athlete-owned businesses. This initiative culminates in TPI’s Athlete Entrepreneur Elevation platform where these founders pitch for capital.
Current and former professional and Olympic athletes, as well as former NCAA Division I athletes are eligible to submit a proposal for the Academy at tpitransition.com. Application period will run between May 4 and May 25.
Up to five finalists will be chosen by a committee partially made up of professional athletes, including TPI Partner and Managing Director Marques Colston and TSE Co-Founder Keith Bulluck. Announcements will be made June 1.
Selected applicants will receive exclusive access to planning sessions with industry leaders that will focus on, among other things, go-to-market strategy, fundraising & venture strategy, marketing/PR, creative direction, pitch review, focus groups, and more.
Founded in 2017, The Players’ Impact (TPI) is an organization built for entrepreneurial-minded athletes. Comprised of more than 200 professional athlete-members, TPI offers a foundation of support in the form of connections with industry experts, early-stage business resources, investment opportunities and more. To these core resources TPI strives to connect every athlete, entrepreneur and investor. The primary goal of TPI is to build and sustain the wealth and success of each and every one of their athlete-members in a targeted, cooperative way.
Transition Sports & Entertainment is a strategic and creative agency specializing in work with athletes and sport and entertainment-focused companies. Transition’s team features a collection of experts who have found proven success within various professional categories including business, financial, marketing and communications, social media, and visual arts. This year, Transition acquired SporTech Ventures, a global sports technology firm which empowers athletes through investment, incubation, and experiential opportunities, to complement its existing capabilities.
Transition Sports & Entertainment Announces Acquisition of SporTech Ventures
Strategic and creative agency adds global sports technology firm.
New York, NY – Transition Sports & Entertainment (TSE), a strategic and creative agency specializing in work with athletes and sport-focused companies, announced today its acquisition of SporTech Ventures, a global sports technology firm which empowers athletes through investment, incubation, and experiential opportunities.
With the acquisition, Transition has created a standalone vertical within the company headed by SporTech Founder Peter Stein. Stein will operate in conjunction with management and serve as Transition’s VC in Residence.
Said TSE CEO Shannon Judd, “Over the past seven months, we have collaborated with SporTech on a number of projects and events. Because of the seamlessness with which we were operating, combining on a singular front will only help us better effectively service clients and partners.”
“Peter has been an invaluable ad-hoc member of our team and a large reason for our company’s growth over the last year,” she added. “This move only made sense.”
Stein said, “SporTech Ventures’ rapid growth since its inception necessitated finding talented, forward-thinking, and specialized partners. Partnering with Transition has helped offset our sheer workload, while utilizing its Creators Studio’s capabilities has allowed me to offer partners a whole suite of services we were once unable to fulfill. I’m excited to combine forces, and can’t wait to tackle new things head on.”
Stein added, “We will be rolling out new endeavors almost immediately.”
For more information, visit sportechventures.transitionse.com.
An Open Letter to 2020 Draft Prospects and Industry Leaders
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought sports, and society-at-large, to a screeching halt. Athletes on all levels have found themselves fighting between massive free time and massive uncertainty.
For prospects who are positioning themselves for this week’s NFL Draft (and the upcoming NBA draft), an already strange process has left many with even more questions than before. While the top picks are better suited for weathering the storm, for the later round and undrafted prospects, the new norm can seem devastating.
In any normal year, the calendar and the process have a predictable roadmap. Prospects spend the weeks following their season in training mode to maximize measurables in particular combine-oriented drills to showcase their speed, strength, agility, health, and position-specific knowledge. The goal then is to showcase these attributes at their respective college pro days in front of pro personnel. Team meetings and private workouts would follow with the purpose of making an impression that would lead a team to potentially draft, offer a free agent contract, or extend a rookie tryout.
Little, if any, of that has happened. So, they are faced with even less transparency during one of the most crucial stages in their journey.
This all begs the questions, “What – if anything – could draft hopefuls have done, or still do to proactively position themselves for success? And what resources are available to make informed decisions in the process?”
These questions are magnified in an unprecedented time like this. Unfortunately, even in a normal year, players simply ride the wave and never take the time to actively ponder them. In previous years, players simply watch what others have done, sign with a rep who often arbitrarily steers them where they want, and then hope for the best. Rinse. Repeat.
As teams and leagues are scrambling to salvage seasons, and as players associations are worried about current members, who can these unproven players turn to for guidance? Who are their allies?
There is no clear answer to this question, and there is no centralized solution to the inherent problem. There are 20,000 athletes pursuing the NBA and NFL alone, seeking to fill roughly 2,000 spots, current players included. Over 50% of current players are represented by just a small handful of agents. There are more agents than jobs available and so, transparency is limited. With little substantive data or qualitative information about agents, and no vetting or rating system, an athlete may end up with a poor fit, and their first chance at success squandered.
COVID-19 doesn’t just impact players, but also those who represent them. How should we consider the role management plays in the recruiting process of athletes? The vast majority of agents already have a hard time recruiting players – citing a lack of capital to acquire talent, lack of network resources and relationships with brands and sports front offices that appeal to players, and lack of awareness to find talent.
Newer agents and smaller firms may be hit the hardest. This could mean further consolidation of capital in mega-firms at the expense of these smaller agents, a trend that’s already been building in recent years.
In times of uncertainty, players will likely go where they see other players thriving during this draft period – and yet, the question remains the same: Is that the right place for them?
With the luxuries and convenience afforded in the digital age, it is time to reinvent the system, balance the flow of information, and modernize the process.
For football players, these last few quarantined months are a good opportunity to reflect on the quality of people surrounding you. Prospects, before your name is called, or your phone rings later this week, consider this, “In times of uncertainty and chaos, how did the people you entrusted to manage your future react? What did they do differently and uniquely for you? How did they stand out in pressured times? How did they earn their paycheck? If things go sour, do you trust them to not only have your back, but to lead the charge?” For NBA prospects, are you putting yourself in the best position to be successful come draft time? Have you asked the right questions? Do you know what the right questions even are?
ProShark Sports will offer a first-of-its-kind digital platform that provides athletes a way to discover, meet, and validate prospective sports agents. While also providing agents with a network of talented athletes to recruit, sign, and negotiate contracts digitally with ease. We exist to bring humanity back to the field of athletics. As a response to COVID-19, our leadership and trusted advisors from across industries are committed to that purpose. We are offering remote strategic soundboarding sessions to all 2020 draft prospects to help them best navigate the waters as they begin the next stage of their lives.
Derrick S. “DT” Thomas Founder & CEO, ProShark Sports
Don Povia Founder & President, Transition Sports & Entertainment Member, ProShark Sports Board of Advisors
Derrick S. “DT” Thomas is Founder and CEO of ProShark Sports. He was captain and four-year starter on Drexel University basketball team. He is a former top worldwide producer at Tesla. He spent over two years with private equity firm, National Financial Partners Corp (NFP) as the youngest settlement consultant in U.S., advising notable civil trial attorneys settlement, spearheading NFP’s expansion into Tampa, FL and New York City, generating over $800K in revenue.
Don Povia is Founder and President of Transition Sports & Entertainment. He was a former student-athlete for the Monmouth University football team, and has spent over a dozen years in the sports digital space bridging the gap between traditional media and the social web. He created the first-of-its-kind new media sports conference series and community, and has worked with public relations and digital agencies to help develop and implement strategies for sports and lifestyle brands, both on a national and global scale, including for the New York Yankees, NASCAR, Vice Media, Subway, Vox, and others.