Event Calendar
Prev MonthPrev Month Next MonthNext Month
SAIA 11th Annual Summit - Play ball: Investing in Professional Sports (11/15/2023) [Registrations Open!]
Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 4:30 PM - 8:30 PM PDT
Category: Annual Alternative Investments Summit

SAIA 11th Annual Summit (11/15/2023):

Play ball: Investing in Professional Sports

Dear SAIA Community,

We are thrilled to invite you to our 11th Annual Alternative Investment Summit on Wednesday, November 15th at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. The landscape of investing in professional sports franchises has seen significant shifts in the past few years, largely characterized by the increasing involvement of private equity firms. Driven by the desire to replicate the recently observed outsized returns and the potential diversification provided to traditional private equity, institutional investors and wealthy individuals are more frequently seeking dedicated allocations to the space. The growth in professional sports investing has been broad-based, occurring across geographies, across sports, and across the capital structure.

With that said, please join us for an intimate discussion with Mark Affolter (Ares), Drew Laurino (Blue Owl), Craig Cheek (Portland Diamond Project), and Paul Braude (BlackRock) that promises to be fun and educational, blending the thrill of sports with the intricacies of finance.

For more details about the panel and to register, please see below.

We look forward to seeing you at the event!

Event Details & Registration:

November 15th, 2023
Registration & Sign up: 4:30PM to 6:30PM
Panel Discussion and Q&A: 6:30PM to 8:30 PM
Fairmont Olympic Hotel
411 University Street

Seattle, WA 98101

SAIA Members: Free
Non-Members: $100

Open Bar & Heavy Hors-d'oeuvres Included

Click Here To Register

By registering for this joint event, the registrant consents to SAIA sharing the registrant’s name with CAIA.


Mark Affolter

Partner, Portfolio Manager & Co-Head of U.S. Direct Lending - Ares Credit Group 

Mr. Affolter is a Partner, Portfolio Manager and Co-Head of U.S. Direct Lending in the Ares Credit Group. Additionally, he is a member of the Ares Credit Group's U.S. Direct Lending Investment Committee. He also serves on the Investment Committee and co-leads the Ares Sports, Media and Entertainment strategy. As part of this strategy, he currently serves as a board member for Atletico de Madrid, Eagle Football, RWD Molenbeek, Olympique Lyonnais and Botafogo football clubs. 

Prior to joining Ares in 2008, Mr. Affolter was a Managing Director at CIT, where he focused on building its sponsor finance business. Previously, Mr. Affolter was a Senior Managing Director at GE Capital in its sponsor finance business and a Senior Vice President at Heller Financial, leading its mezzanine finance business in corporate finance. He currently serves on the Regional Committee of Washington University and holds an A.B. from Washington University in Economics.


Paul Braude

Managing Director, CIO & Head of the Direct Private Opportunities Group - BlackRock

Paul Braude, Managing Director, is CIO and Head of the Direct Private Opportunities (“DPO”) group at BlackRock. DPO is the direct investing team within Multi-Alternatives (“Multi-Alts”), and is responsible for sourcing and underwriting private market investments, primarily in niche opportunities, including sports finance. The DPO team seeks opportunistic investments across emerging segments of private markets that introduce diversifying sources of idiosyncratic risks to client portfolios. The DPO team typically pursues highly structured and thematic or market driven investments in areas of high relative value. Mr. Braude is also Chair of the DPO Investment Committee. 

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2014, Mr. Braude was an investment professional at Blackstone's Tactical Opportunities Group where he focused on evaluating and executing opportunistic private investments across industry and capital structure spectrums. Prior to Tactical Opportunities, Mr. Braude was an investment banker in Blackstone's M&A practice, as well as at Citigroup and ABN AMRO, advising clients primarily in the power and energy, consumer and financial sectors. Mr. Braude started his career at Bridgewater Associates. Mr. Braude graduated, magna cum laude, with a BS degree in Economics from the Wharton School and a BAS in Computer Science from The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Craig Cheek

Founder & President - Portland Diamond Project

Craig Cheek spent 26 years ascending through the leadership ranks to VP/GM at Nike, Inc. He built a hallmark of success leading some of Nike’s largest businesses and teams including U.S Footwear, Nike North America, and Nike Greater China. Known as an entrepreneur specializing in Sales, Marketing, Product and Brand Building, Craig was part of some of the most game-changing catalytic concepts, initiatives, and sub brands at the Swoosh.

Mr Cheek’s major contributions at Nike were helping to pioneer and lead the vision for three different Global Categories: Young Athletes, Men’s Training, and ultimately the Division of Cleated and Team Sports, which housed the NFL, MLB and NCAA businesses and relationships.

Upon retiring from Nike, Inc. in 2016, Craig has continued his passion for big, transformative projects and ideas, which has led to the formation of a couple of new enterprises. He is the Founder/President of the Portland Diamond Project, the group formed to lead the effort to bring an MLB Franchise and new Sports, Entertainment & Technology district to Portland, Oregon.

Craig is married with three sons and enjoys following sports on a global scale and serving on various boards tied to education, youth mentorship, community building and philanthropy. Currently, he is committed to the growth, curation and storytelling of the Unity Entertainment projects, while staying dedicated to landing an MLB Franchise for the Portland Metro area in Oregon.

Andrew Laurino

Senior Managing Director - Blue Owl Capital

Andrew Laurino is a Senior Managing Director of Blue Owl Capital Inc. and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Andrew also serves as a member of GP Strategic Capital Investment Team.

Prior to joining Dyal Capital, the predecessor firm to Blue Owl’s GP Strategic Capital platform, Andrew provided strategic and financing advice to leading alternative asset managers at a number of firms, including Tiger Bay Advisors, Credit Suisse, and Lehman Brothers. Earlier in his career, he was an M&A advisor at Lehman Brothers, Compass Advisors, and Prudential Securities.

Andrew received a BS in Foreign Service with a concentration in International Economics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University..

We look forward to hosting you!

SAIA Board