NEW YORK – November 29, 2023 – SailGP’s United States team has been purchased by technology investor and founding Uber engineer Ryan McKillen, Margaret McKillen, and two-time world champion sailor Mike Buckley. They are joined by a diverse group of investors representing the sport, technology, entertainment and media industries.
The Avenue Sports Fund, led by Avenue Capital Group CEO Marc Lasry, is the lead investor in what will be the largest team acquisition in SailGP history. Other members of the investment group include actress and producer Issa Rae; world champion heavyweight boxer Deontay Wilder; global DJ and producer Gryffin; and NFL stars DeAndre Hopkins, Malik Jackson, Roquan Smith and Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Additional members include University of Alabama football star Dallas Turner; former U.S. soccer player Jozy Altidore; University of Michigan basketball legend Katelynn Flaherty Yates; Muse Capital’s Assia Grazioli-Venier; and serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.
SailGP is the most exciting racing on water. The global league features high-tech, high-speed 50-foot foiling catamarans that are raced by the world’s best athletes in 10 national teams and broadcast in over 200+ markets (CBS and YouTube in the U.S.). In SailGP’s fourth season, the quickly growing global sailing league provides 13 live events year-round – six of which take place in North America including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago – at the most iconic waterfront locations around the world.
Under the new U.S. SailGP Team structure, Ryan McKillen will serve as Chairman, and Mike Buckley as Chief Executive Officer. The team has appointed seven-time world champion sailor Taylor Canfield as team driver.
“By bringing together this remarkable group to acquire the United States SailGP Team, we have reached an important milestone in the growth of our sport,” said Ryan McKillen, U.S. SailGP Team Co-owner and Chairman. “As sailors, we love this sport and want to introduce it to millions; as entrepreneurs, we recognize the potential and growth trajectory of SailGP and how our U.S. SailGP Team can introduce the future of on-water racing at the highest level. Our incredible ownership group is a testament to the growth and expansion of SailGP into the mainstream.”
“We believe that diversity is a competitive advantage and it needs to start at the top,” said Mike Buckley, U.S. SailGP Team Co-owner and CEO. “We have assembled the most diverse ownership group in the history of our sport. Collectively, we have an enormous amount of work to do on and off the water, but I think that I have shown I am not going to back down from this important challenge.”
Avenue Capital Group recently launched the Avenue Sports Fund with the aim of providing capital solutions to a wide variety of sports teams, owners, and leagues, as well as invest in sports-related media and entertainment rights, real estate, and other adjacent businesses. The U.S. SailGP Team is the second major team investment by the Sports Fund.
“The investment by the Avenue Sports Fund in the U.S. SailGP Team is a perfect fit for our strategy of supporting emerging sports and leagues to capitalize on the globalization of sports and related areas of potential rapid growth,” said Marc Lasry, Avenue Capital Group Chairman and CEO. “We are thrilled to join Ryan, Margaret, Mike and the broader investor group as the U.S. SailGP Team competes on an exciting global stage.”
U.S. SailGP Team partners Red Bull, T-Mobile for Business, and Zhik, have reaffirmed their commitment to the U.S. SailGP Team, working with the team and league to cater to a growing fanbase, innovate across tech, sport, and lifestyle, and deliver premium event experiences.
U.S. SailGP Team debut in Dubai, December 9-10
The U.S. SailGP Team (athletes to be announced) will race at the Emirates Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas, December 9-10.
Dubai is the sixth stop on SailGP’s Season 4 global calendar. The league returns to North America in spring 2024, with events every month beginning with the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix (May 4-5) and the ROCKWOOL Canada Sail Grand Prix in Halifax (June 1-2).
The first chance for the U.S. SailGP Team to race in front of its American fans will be in New York, June 22-23 at the Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix; followed by the SailGP Season 4 Grand Final in San Francisco on July 13-14, 2024.