Grappling with Finance: From Sold-Out Arenas to Asset Management

Aidan O'Connor  Follow

The adage ‘finance touches everything’ is just as true in financial services PR as it is in global macro asset management. With the right agenda, messaging and strategy, we can blend two topics with little correlation to create a compelling narrative that marries client success with personal interests. It’s in these moments that we find ourselves most engaged, and our ability as communications professionals shines brightest.

I never imagined when first arriving at Prosek that it would bring me closer to the influential pioneers within the world of another interest of mine, combat sports. I look back in laughter, for example, at the many times I’ve had to distinguish between MMA and M&A - although our deals team might see more similarities in the boardroom setting than we can comprehend.

Nevertheless, that’s what happened one week when it was circulated internally that Mickey Mandelbaum, a partner here at Prosek, was going to be working with Fertitta Capital, the new investment vehicle of Lorenzo Fertitta.

Eight months earlier, Fertitta had converted his $2 million 2001 acquisition of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a distressed mixed martial arts organization, into a $4 billion sale, after trading ownership to talent agency WME-IMG and minority stake private equity investors Silver Lake Partners and KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts).

And so, after asking to join the account on the off-chance it might one day lead to an exchange, two months later I found myself in our offices sitting across from Lorenzo Fertitta just days after I’d authored his Wikipedia biography. With tailored suit and one of his partners who’d be running the day-to-day activities of Fertitta Capital, I was listening to my favorite sport’s most influential figure explain the launch of his new venture to two reporters from The Wall Street Journal. Surreal.

Following the interview, I realized that I might not ever get the chance to speak to Lorenzo again, so I thanked him for putting the Octagon on the map and bringing a sport I enjoy so much into the mainstream. It was a sincere message that he seemed to appreciate.

In the days that followed, I found myself pitching sports news powerhouses like ESPN, FOX and the Associated Press – using a mental database of once useless MMA trivia to sell reporters on the scale of their accomplishments. All amazing experiences that I owe to working in financial services communications and, of course, to being in the right place at the right time. The resulting piece turned out well too.

There’s no great wisdom or profound insight to share here. Just a cool story that showcases the rare and bizarre opportunities our careers representing the ‘big and boring’ can sometimes offer when we act proactively or think outside the box. 

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