The first question a lot of entrepreneurs ask themselves after they’ve developed a product or service is, “what makes me marketable?” Michael Jordan not only changed basketball forever, but he changed the world of marketing as well. Sure, athletes have always pitched products; Babe Ruth used to hawk cigarettes and Muhammad Ali endorsed roach traps. But Jordan changed the game last year he made an estimated $130 million from Nike, four times as much as LeBron James, and Jordan walked away from the Bulls more than 20 years ago. So what makes an athlete marketable today? This week, Joe looks for the answer to that question with Mike Principe, the CEO of one of the most recognizable sports marketing companies in the world, GSE Worldwide.
About Mike Principe:
Mike is the Chief Executive Officer of GSE Worldwide, Inc. (“GSE”), a leading athlete representation, sports marketing and event management company. A seasoned executive and deal maker in the sports and entertainment industry, Principe brings over 20 years of experience to his role as CEO.
Principe last served as the Chief Executive Officer of GSE’s predecessor entity, TLA Worldwide, plc, (“TLA”) a global sports marketing and management company with over 170 employees operating out of 10 offices worldwide. TLA represented over 750 clients and was the preeminent agency in delivering world class international sporting events to new markets.
Prior to TLA, Principe was the Managing Director of Blue Entertainment Sports Television (“BEST”), a US based sports marketing, management and production agency. Through Principe’s leadership, BEST was ranked No. 21 on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest growing private companies and was the top- rated company in Inc.’s “Media” category for that year. In addition to his role with BEST, Principe also served as the Chief Operating Officer for its parent company, Blue Equity, LLC and was responsible for the operations and management of various business matters pertaining to Blue Equity, as well as the identification and development of new investments and opportunities.
Principe began his career in the industry with SFX Sports Group (“SFX”), where he held various positions including that of Executive Vice President and as General Counsel. During his tenure with SFX, he was responsible for the agency’s business and legal affairs and was actively involved in the operation and management of its practices through his seat on the company’s Executive Committee.
Through his career, Principe led or played a material role in many of the sports industry’s most considerable transactions. The transactions, which have an aggregate value of over $600,000,000, include BEST, Black Canyon Productions, Cambridge Golf, Dynasty Sports Group, ESP, F.A.M.E., Game Seven Sports Marketing, Greg Norman Productions, Hendricks Management Company, ISI, Legacy Sports Group, ProServ, SFX Worldwide, Speakers of Sport, Sports Management Group, TCI, Tellem & Associates, The Agency, The Legacy Agency, The Marquee Group, TLA Worldwide, plc and Worldwide Football.
Principe’s success in the mergers and acquisitions of these companies, combined with his operational and management experience, qualifies him as a leading authority in the industry. As such, he is a frequent lecturer and panelist and has been named to the Sports Business Journal’s prestigious “Forty Under 40” list.
Principe is a graduate of the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri. As a Robert & Mary Welborn Scholar, he obtained his Juris Doctor. Principe also received his Bachelor of Arts from Washington University, where he graduated cum honore.