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TLA home run on AIM

AIM newcomer TLA Worldwide (TLA) has been formed to target the US baseball market.

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a hugely lucrative industry, with estimates pointing to annual revenues last year of a record $7 billion – twice that of 1999. Total attendances of 73 million have been on the increase, largely driven by increasing awareness and sponsorship.

TLA was co-founded by chief executive Mike Principe, a US lawyer and former head of Blue Entertainment, a sports marketing group he built through acquisition. Non-executive chairman Bart Campbell was the driving force of former AIM-listed sports agent Essentially. It was acquired by Chime Communications, and he now heads up its sports marketing arm.

TLA is to acquire two US sports representation agencies to kick-start its expansion plans, but with up to 70 agencies the market is hugely fragmented so expect more deals. California-based Legacy Sports has 100 clients on its books, which include high-profile stars such as CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees.

Agency Sports has 125 clients, spanning baseball, celebrity chefs and golf. In addition, it has a strong position in sports coaching, which brings long-term contracts and good visibility. TLA also plans to launch a ‘baseball-themed event’ within two years.

The minimum wage requirement for an MLB player is $414,000 (£265,000), but the average annual salary is $3.3 million. From being seen as a pastime in the US, the sport is now increasingly international, with leagues in several countries.

TLA has $39 million of revenue contracted through to 2020 and is expected to be valued at £12.7 million on float. The company has raised £12 million by way of a 20p-a-share placing, with institutions including Amati, ISIS and Hargreave Hale. Cenkos are brokers.

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