Zucker In At Front Office: Investment May Really Be An Email Buy

Front Office Sports (FOS), a news group that specializes in covering the business of sports, has received an investment from former CNN chief Jeff Zucker’s RedBird IMI.

The terms were not disclosed.

Zucker will join the FOS board of directors as its co-chair. He will sit aside Jason Stein, managing partner of SC Holdings, a minority investor. RedBird IMI is a joint venture between RedBird Capital Partners and International Media Investments.

“Audiences are more interested than ever in the business of sports, and this investment will allow Front Office Sports to create even more compelling news content that draws people in,” Zucker says. 

Most of the coverage of this emphasizes Zucker’s role as erstwhile CNN head. But one source sees this as an email buy. 

“Front Office Sports's relationship with their audience isn't through a cable box or a streaming stick, it's through email” says Adam Berkowitz, chief of staff at LiveIntent, an email provider that does not work with FOS. “Front Office Sports is known for its sharp newsletters, delivered in the email inboxes of its subscribers who have raised their hand and asked for the content.”



Berkowitz continues, “It sounds different than the arenas Zucker's dexterity was developed in, but in 2023, there's so much noise and clutter on the Internet. The email channel has a direct, 1:1 relationship with the audience, and the email newsletter is the modern version of getting the paper delivered on your front door.” 

Indeed, Berkowitz adds, “The email newsletters that Front Office Sports sends out are built for premium advertising since the audience is logged in like Google and Meta, they are present and opening the email, and advertisers can rest assured the ads are in a brand-safe environment.” 

Well, maybe. For the record, FOS says it drives more than 150 million social impressions, 35 million newsletter opens, 10 million video views, and two million page views each month. 

That would be quite the email list size, but the real measure would be click-throughs, not opens.  

FOS serves such advertisers as Chevrolet, Invesco QQQ, New Balance, Cisco, PwC, FanDuel, Pepsi, Wendy’s and Prudential.

Bloomberg estimated the firm’s value at $40 million Monday morning.  

"The business of sports has become ubiquitous in recent years, permeating across all corners of culture,” says Adam White, founder and CEO of FOS.

“It now commands mainstream attention and is part of even the most casual fan's daily content consumption.” 



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