Competitive sailing isn’t exactly the most popular spectator sport in the U.S. or a magnet for celebrity investment. But a group of prominent figures from sports, entertainment, and technology have combined to buy a team — and in the process set a new record for the sport.
The U.S. team of international sailing competition SailGP has been acquired by a group led by Uber Technologies Inc. executive Ryan McKillen and world champion sailor Mike Buckley.
But the pair are joined by former Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, pro boxer Deontay Wilder, former U.S. men’s national soccer team player Jozy Altidore, actress Issa Rae, serial tech entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, and NFL players DeAndre Hopkins, Malik Jackson, and Roquan Smith.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but reports suggest the deal far exceeds — and perhaps nearly doubles — the $40 million valuation placed on SailGP’s Great Britain team late last year.
The investment is designed to capitalize on the rising prominence of SailGP, a global league centered on high-tech catamaran racing. Founded in 2019 by billionaire tech titan Larry Ellison, SailGP has since made a steady push toward mainstream acceptance, a process that should only accelerate with the new U.S ownership team.
“We recognize the growth trajectory of SailGP and how our U.S. SailGP team can introduce the future of on-water racing at the highest level,” McKillen said.
Also among the investors was Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner, who was recently named a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award as college football’s best defender.
“I want to blaze a trail for kids to think outside the box and my investment in the U.S. SailGP Team proves that you can start building your network even while still in school,” said Turner.
Turner could add to his already impressive coffers through the investment: The junior has an NIL valuation of $736,000 — good enough to rank 38th in college football and 57th among all current NIL athletes.