Bitzio, a mobile media and app company, has entered into a letter of intent to acquire New York City-based Grandstand Sports and Memorabilia.
Founded in 1999, Grandstand generated $11 million in revenues in 2012, with a large focus of its business on fundraising events and charity auctions. Grandstand's exclusive signings have included Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps and world-renowned soccer player Pele.
According to a press release, the combined company “will create a unique multi-channel business singularly focused on sports and entertainment fans and their communities. Through merging Bitzio's deep digital marketing expertise and fan reach with Grandstand's solid roots and history in sports and entertainment products, the new Bitzio will be well positioned as a leader in connecting fans to their favorite athletes, teams and celebrities across online and offline channels. The platform will bring together physical products, virtual goods, e-commerce, offline commerce, digital engagement and physical experiences all centered around one common thread: the fanatic.”
"This transformative acquisition unites the unique and profitable niche of Grandstand Sports with the digital marketing know-how of Bitzio," said Peter Henricsson, president and CEO of Bitzio. "The result will be a new, state-of-the-art multi-channel platform that will engage very specific, eager fan bases by connecting them to their favorite celebrities and sports idols and monetizing key steps of the engagement. Grandstand also brings with it invaluable assets in terms of its employees and management team, particularly its founder."
"Together, we plan to leverage our mutually deep industry relationships and marketing partnerships to secure new licensing agreements in the coming months, as well as roll-out new digital initiatives for Grandstand," added Henricsson.
Grandstand's founder and president, Howard Schwartz has participated in more than 700 autograph signings, and has established numerous relationships with players and agents. He’s a frequent guest on national TV shows when the focus is on sports memorabilia.
According to Schwartz: "In Bitzio, we have found an ideal partner who shares our passion for providing fans of all kinds a unique, personalized connection to their favorite athletes or celebrities. Bitzio has the technological and digital marketing expertise that we have long needed to support the expansion of our offline business into the world of e-commerce and mobile devices. Our complementary businesses provide new opportunities for growth and market expansion, particularly in the cross-selling of merchandise and the combination of our mutual fan-base communities and customers."
Following the acquisition, Bitzio expects to generate revenue from the planned roll out of its current apps under license, along with the continued sale of memorabilia and experience packages through Grandstand's retail, charity and wholesale channels. In addition, significant growth is expected from the planned development of the combined company's e-commerce platform to complement these existing channels, including integrating Bitzio's in-app purchase model.