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Former IMG College chief forms new agency

Ben Sutton, Jr., the former president and chairman of the IMG College division of the IMG agency, has formed a new private equity company, Teall Investments.

Sutton (pictured) has formed the company together with several Teall affiliates. Teall has already acquired a significant stake in Alabama-based Tailgate Guys and anticipates further growth through additional investments in the sports, media, marketing and entertainment industries.

Sutton, who is the chairman of Teall, founded the ISP Sports agency in 1992 before the company eventually merged into IMG College in 2010. Sutton was named as chairman and president of IMG College in 2010 and served as chairman emeritus from 2015 to 2016 before leaving the agency late last year to focus his efforts on Teall.

Teall purchased Tailgate Guys nine months ago and the company has since experienced significant growth. The company, which provides turnkey hospitality packages to fans, now represents 16 universities, PGA Tour golf events, professional sports teams and bowl games.

Sutton will be joined at Teall Investments by six individuals who were previously members of the senior leadership at ISP Sports and IMG College – Wes Day, Lou Doherty, Kelli Hilliard, Rex Hough, Anna Barton Kolda, Mark McKeen and Joe Weatherly.

Sutton said in a statement: “I worked side by side with this group of individuals for years as we created the best sports marketing team in America, bar none. Each of them is incredibly talented and dedicated, and we are all excited to be part of a new team at Teall Investments.

“The American entrepreneurial spirit defines Teall Investments' leadership team, and we've already hit the ground running with tremendous success in a couple of our investments. This highly competitive leadership team which built from scratch most of what is IMG College today, certainly understands that the sky is the limit for what we can accomplish together at Teall Investments.”

Teall will be based in Winston-Salem, Atlanta and San Francisco. The Winston-Salem Journal said Teall has raised a combined $65m (€55.8m) in financial commitments from 40 investors, along with Sutton putting in his own money.

Sutton added to the newspaper: “Our goal is to acquire smaller companies in an industry and build a national platform out of them. We’re spending significant time drilling down with the companies rather than checking their books.”