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Oakwell appoints Perform co-founder Croker as advisory board chairman

Andrew Croker, Perform Group co-founder, has been named chairman of the advisory board at Oakwell Sports Advisory (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for Soccerex)

Oakwell Sports Advisory group, the London-based specialist corporate advisory service for the sports and media technology sector, has announced the appointment of Andrew Croker as the chairman of its advisory board. 

Croker, whose career in the sport industry has spanned five decades and taken in some of the biggest properties in the sector, is perhaps best known for co-founding digital sports rights agency Perform Group.

In 1986, he became the first head of sport at BSB, the forerunner to Sky Sports, creating and overseeing the UK’s first dedicated sports channel, and later went on to work for the likes of IMG, Sportfive and Play Sports Group.

He later became an active investor in digital video production company Grabyo, and has also served in an advisory capacity to technology supplier Hawk-Eye. Most recently, he returned to Stats Perform as a consultant earlier this year as it continued its new business direction, having split from DAZN.

Of his appointment, Croker said: “The sports industry was already at a tipping point, which has only been accelerated by the current crisis. Federations and rights-holders are facing huge structural and financial challenges, the traditional agency model is failing, linear television is rapidly migrating to OTT services, and the sponsorship model is radically changing.

“The appeal of joining Oakwell is their expertise and original thinking in this area, particularly in-depth analysis and valuation, financial modelling, advice on restructuring and strategy, and access to partnership-style capital. You only have to look at their track record, and who they work with.”

Perform Group was formed in 2007 through the merger of Premium TV and Inform Group. Its assets were divided in September 2018 to create two separate entities in the form of rights-holding OTT business DAZN, and betting rights, data, news and video company Perform Content.

Oakwell is the retained advisor to CVC Capital Partners on its rugby investments, and is currently working with the private equity firm on its long-rumoured attempts to acquire a significant share in the Six Nations. Earlier this week, it was reported that that deal was nearing completion, with CVC expected to take a 14-per-cent stake in the competition.