Longtime media executives David Levy and Chris Weil are launching a new marketing agency with Horizon Media, which aims to capitalize on the shift already underway in sports advertising.
Horizon Sports & Entertainment (HS&E) plans to focus on marketing beyond television commercials and in-stadium signage, which Levy dubbed “table stakes.” Instead, it hopes to create opportunities around new events, IP creation and experiential marketing in both the physical world and the metaverse.
Levy, former president of Turner Broadcasting, and Weil, president of Momentum Worldwide, will serve as co-CEOs and equity partners with Horizon Media.
“It’s not going to be your standard 30-second TV spot,” Levy said in an interview. “The timing couldn’t be better. Private equity firms invest heavily in sports franchises, new leagues are formed and NIL rights are here. This space is growing very fast and they will need companies like us.
The group does not start from scratch. It will absorb parts of the Horizon portfolio, including more than 30 employees and an existing client base. Horizon’s newly launched metaverse consulting service, part of the HS&E business, will be part of the HS&E business, as will Scout Sports and Entertainment. Michael Neumann, who runs Scout, will become an executive vice president of HS&E.
The agency’s goal is to combine the expertise of its three backers: Tax in content creation and sales, Weil in experiential marketing and Horizon CEO/Founder Bill Koenigsberg in brand building. HS&E cited The Match, a golf franchise that Levy helped create at Turner, citing an example of things that can be tracked. The competition launched in 2018 using brand new IP, with buy-in from media partners, corporate sponsors and the sport’s biggest stars. Its seventh iteration will take place next month.
Levy, who founded sports consulting and investment firm Back Nine Ventures, spent nearly three decades at Turner parent Time Warner, where he ran the company’s networks, ad sales and distribution portfolio. He oversaw Turner Sports from 2003 until his departure in 2019. He is currently the president of Genius Sports (NYSE: GENI ) and will remain in that role.
Weil spent two decades as Momentum’s president and CEO until his recent departure. During his tenure in that role, the firm grew from two offices to 30 global locations, ultimately managing more than $5 billion in sponsor assets. Weil said in a Web statement that the industry needs an agency that can blend traditional marketing with the new opportunities of Web3, a catch-all application for the Internet’s decentralized future, including blockchain technology.
“I believe Web3 will be the ‘experiential Web,’ given the fundamental shifts in consumer attitudes and behaviors that continue to drive the evolution of brand experiences, both physical and digital,” Web said. We will create a company that exists.”
HS&E’s launch coincides with Horizon’s recent expansion. In the past few months, the company launched a new consulting firm called Green Thread, and bought a controlling stake in First Tube Media, a digital experience agency that works closely with HS&E.