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Merged action sports company created involving Nitro and skateboarding

A new independent action sports operator and media company has been formed through a deal between investment firms The Raine Group and Causeway Media Partners, with backing from commercial finance company MidCap Financial.

Thrill One Sports & Entertainment will combine Nitro Circus, Street League Skateboarding (SLS) and Superjacket Productions. Joe Carr, a former senior executive at the UFC mixed martial arts promotion and the World Surf League, will lead Thrill Sports as chief executive.

The new company is designed to unite top action sports athletes and renowned brands under one banner. Additional properties will be launched, with other strategic acquisitions to be pursued by the company.

Causeway Media Partners focuses on the sports media and sports technology sectors. The company is led by Wyc Grousbeck, former general partner at Highland Capital Partners and lead owner of the Boston Celtics NBA basketball team; Mark Wan, co-founder of Three Arch Partners and part owner of the Celtics and the San Francisco 49ers NFL American football franchise; and Bob Higgins, co-founder of Highland Capital Partners.

The Raine Group has previously invested in Draft Kings, Vice Media, Imagine Entertainment and Important Studios.

Nitro Circus’ portfolio of live events and competitions includes Nitro World Games, Nitro Rallycross and Nitro Circus Live. SLS is the world’s leading street skateboarding series and serves as the lead qualifying pathway for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where skateboarding will be contested for the first time.

Superjacket Productions is a full-service video and film production. It was launched by Rob Dyrdek and Shane Nickerson, creators of hit television programmes ‘Ridiculousness’, ‘The Dude Perfect Show’, ‘Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory’ and ‘Rob & Big’.

Carr, who served as a senior vice-president and head of international and content for UFC, before joining the World Surf League as chief strategy officer in 2017, said: “This groundbreaking alliance combines three prized brands into a single entity, transforming what has historically been a fragmented landscape into the biggest platform in action sports.

“Action sports are enjoying a renaissance right now with Olympic inclusion in 2020, the democratisation of media and the worldwide fan base at an all-time high. I look forward to working with our athletes and talented management team to drive organic growth in our existing businesses while also identifying potential M&A opportunities and complementary IP.”

Travis Pastrana, action sports veteran and co-founder of Nitro Circus, added: “At Nitro Circus, we have the amazing opportunity to work with the best athletes, content creators and technical geniuses in the business, reaching fans worldwide.

“Now, by teaming up with SLS and Superjacket to create this game-changing team, we can pull our resources together with the unified goal of growing the fun and progression of action sports on a global level.”