Former Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III sees potential in American Cornhole League — now he is an investor


John Thompson III, head of the athlete improvement and engagement division for Monumental Basketball, poses for a portrait on July 22, 2019 at Capital One Area in Washington, DC.

Ned Dishman | Nationwide Basketball Affiliation | Getty Photos

Former Georgetown College males’s basketball coach John Thompson III is now an proprietor of a cornhole sports activities firm.

Thompson III and Asland Capital Companions CEO James Simmons III invested within the American Cornhole League. The transaction is ACL’s first funding spherical, however particular phrases weren’t offered.

In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Thompson III, the son of legendary Georgetown College coach John Thompson, defined the funding in ACL, including the league is positioned to extend income over this decade as a result of its rising recognition.

“You form of chuckle when you concentrate on it,” Thompson III stated of investing in cornhole. “However as you dive in and do the analysis, cornhole is among the fastest-growing actions on the planet.”

ACL launched in 2016 in South Carolina. The corporate has efficiently leveraged the favored sport — which requires individuals to toss luggage of corn kernels onto a platform for factors — right into a TV sport just like bowling.

ACL lured media agreements NBCUniversal, Disney-owned ESPN and signed a multi-year cope with ViacomCBS final December. ESPN stated viewership of ACL content material is up 3% year-over-year in comparison with 2020. ACL’s most-viewed airing in 2021 was the Professional Invitational, which averaged 468,000 common viewers.

American Cornhole League

Supply: American Cornhole League

ACL was featured in a 2018 CNBC profile, which famous gamers might earn as much as $25,000 in prize cash. ACL is in its fifth season and scheduled to carry a $250,000 prize pool competitors on Saturday. Within the 2018 article, ACL founder Stacey Moore focused a $1 million prize pool sooner or later. Thompson III praised Moore for “rising the game and growing consciousness,” including ACL has “potential avenues of progress.”

The league additionally has sponsorships with corporations, together with sports activities betting firm DraftKings.

“Is it a threat? Completely,” stated Thompson III. “However all investments are a threat. I really feel strongly in regards to the administration staff that is we’re placing collectively and the staff already in place.”

A return to the sidelines?

Thompson III labeled himself a “calculated investor” when discussing his funding technique. He used New York-based funding agency Internal Circle Sports activities to advise with the ACL settlement and sees the corporate’s e-commerce choices as a chance, too.

ACL makes income from cornhole merchandise, merchandise and attire. In a press release saying the transaction, Moore stated the brand new capital and enterprise relationships would “assist take our progress to the following degree as we proceed to evolve as an expert sport and group.”

Thompson III coached the Hoyas males’s basketball program earlier than departing in 2017, compiling a profession 346-193 report, together with 4 years at Princeton College. Thompson III is at present an govt at Monumental Sports activities and Leisure, which owns the Nationwide Basketball Affiliation’s Washington Wizards franchise.

Requested if he want to return to teaching, Thompson III did not rule out the chance however added he is having fun with the entrance workplace position.

“The enterprise side of operating a company is similar to operating and mailing a staff, but very completely different,” Thompson III stated, later factoring in title, picture, and likeness, which permits faculty athletes to earn cash.

Guidelines that barred athletes from profiting have been lifted final July, following a U.S. Supreme Court docket ruling. Already soccer gamers from high applications have agreed to offers over $1 million. Thompson III stated the NCAA adopting NIL “was the suitable factor” however warned of the “constructive and detrimental repercussions.”   

Mentioned Thompson III: “Intercollegiate sports activities modified considerably when that handed. I am not saying that it is a dangerous factor; it is only a completely different world now. That coupled with the switch rule, faculty teaching is a a lot completely different job.”

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the mother or father firm of CNBC.

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