Former Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III invests in American Cornhole League

Former Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III invests in American Cornhole League

John Thompson III, head of the Athlete Development and Engagement Department for Memorial Basketball, poses for a portrait at Capital One Arena July 22, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Ned Dishman | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

John Thompson III, a former male basketball coach at Georgetown University, now owns a cornhole sports business.

Thompson and CEO of Asland Capital Partners, James Simmons III, have invested in the American Cornhole League. The transaction is ACL’s first funding round, but specific terms have not been provided.

In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Thompson, the son of Georgetown University greats coach John Thompson Jr., explained the investment in the ACL the league has been positioned to generate revenue this decade due to its growing popularity.

“You laugh when you think about it,” Thompson said of investing in Cornhole. “But as you dive in and research your cornhole is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.”

ACL was launched in 2016 in South Carolina. The company has successfully leveraged the popular game – which requires participants to throw bags of corn kernels at a platform for points – in a televised sport similar to bowling.

ACL has media deals with Disney-owned NBCUniversal and ESPN, and in December signed a multi-year deal with ViacomCBS. ESPN said audiences for ACL’s content grew 3% year-over-year from 2020. ACL’s most-watched show in 2021 was Pro Invitational, with an average of 468 000 viewers.

American Cornhole League

Source: American Cornhole League

The ACL was featured in a 2018 CNBC profile that claimed famous players could win up to $ 25,000 in prizes. The ACL is in its fifth season and is expected to host a $ 250,000 prize pool competition on Saturday. In a 2018 article, ACL founder Stacy Moore aimed for a future prize pool of $ 1 million.

Thompson praised Moore for “improving the game and increasing awareness,” adding that the ACL had “potential avenues for growth.”

The league also has sponsorships with companies, most notably sports betting company DraftKings.

“Is it a risk? Exactly, ”said Thompson. “But all investments are a risk. I am very attached to the management team that we are putting in place and to the team already in place.

Thompson describes himself as a “calculated investor” when discussing his investment strategy. He used New York-based investment firm Inner Circle Sports to advise him on the ACL settlement and also saw the company’s e-commerce offerings as an opportunity. ACL generates income from cornhole merchandise, products and clothing.

In a statement announcing the transaction, Moore said the new capital and business relationship “will help take our growth to the next level as we continue to grow as a professional sport and organization.”

return to shore?

Thompson coached the Hoyce men’s basketball program from 2004 to 2017, compiling a head coaching career record 346-193, including four years at Princeton University. He is currently an executive at Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Washington Wizards franchise of the National Basketball Association.

When asked if he wanted to return to training, he didn’t rule out the possibility but said he enjoyed the front-office role.

“The business side of running an organization is similar to running and managing a team, but very different,” Thompson said later, taking into account the politics of name, image and resemblance, which allows college athletes to earn money. East.

In July, the United States Supreme Court ruled that rules preventing college athletes from enjoying their name, image and likeness were removed. Football players from the best programs have already struck a deal worth over $ 1 million. Thompson said adopting the NCAA’s NIL policy was “the right thing,” but warned of the “positive and negative repercussions.”

“Intercollegiate sports changed a lot when it was adopted,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s a bad thing; it’s another world now. It’s a transfer rule, and college coaching is a very different job.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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