Leading diamond sports brands Game Day USA, Baseball Youth and The Youth Baseball and Softball Nationals are coming together under the Athletx Sports Group umbrella to forge the fastest growing baseball and softball events and media company in the country.
Athletx Sports Group continues its rapid expansion by bringing Game Day USA into the fold in a merger of the two companies. The announcement comes on the heels of the recent addition of media powerhouse Baseball Youth and was made at the 74th annual American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in Indianapolis. The deal will be finalized in the first quarter of 2018.
Game Day USA has produced weekend baseball and softball events in family-friendly destinations for more than 12 years. The sports management firm, based in Naperville, Illinois, 33 miles west of Chicago, has partnered with some of the world’s best sports and entertainment brands, including Disney, USA Baseball, Gatorade, Wilson, the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals.
Rich Janor, founder of Game Day USA and Janor Sports, a team dealer and event merchandising specialist, will continue to serve as president of both companies. Collectively, in 2018, Athletx Sports Group brands will represent more than 260 individual player and team-based events across the nation, featuring more than 8,000 teams, 100,000 players, 25,000 coaches and 250,000 spectators.
In 2017, these events featured athletes and teams from 46 states and 10 countries, including Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, Germany, Kuwait, Canada and the United Kingdom. Athletx boasts a strong media presence with more than 525,000 social media followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, along with more than 3.3 million annual web page views and a quarterly baseball magazine, Baseball Youth – the Nation’s Baseball Magazine for Kids.
Athletx, based in Louisville, Kentucky, was founded by Jim Haddaway and John Ruby in 2012 with its original brand, The Youth Baseball Nationals. The Nationals quickly grew into the nation’s leading week-long family vacation baseball experience with several destinations across the United States.
“Athletx was built on creating great experiences and unforgettable memories for baseball families, like my own,” says Haddaway, CEO of Athletx. “These events were created based upon a dream to deliver something unique, something memorable. What drives us is the look of pure enjoyment on the faces of kids during our events, and in those moments, we realize what an impact we’ve made.”
Aaron Flaker joined the founders of Athletx and The Youth Nationals in 2016 as a co-owner and chief business development officer, with the primary goal of growing the company via mergers and acquisitions in order to create premier experiences for youth players and their families. Flaker, Haddaway and Ruby shortly after created Athletx Sports Group, as the parent company for its brands and any future acquisitions.
Flaker comes to the baseball and softball industry with more than 23 years of sports event management and branding experience, having built the second largest cheer and dance event company in the world. That company, JAM Brands, was sold to Varsity Brands in 2015 after 20 years of national and international success. Game Day USA employees will continue to operate the business from the company’s headquarters in Naperville.
“This merger represents a win for our athletes, coaches, families and employees,” said Janor, who will join the ownership team of parent company Athletx Sports Group. “It advances our mission of creating opportunities for athletes and families through events and media, and our entire management team is thrilled to team up with Athletx Sports Group.”
“We, at Athletx, have a clear vision of where we are headed. We are very passionate about who we serve and strongly believe we have an obligation to deliver amazing experiences to the individual players, their families and the coaches. We gladly own that responsibility,” Flaker said. “The diamond sports industry needs a strong voice and leader when it comes to its future growth. We believe, in conjunction with the addition of other leading companies, Athletx Sports Group and its subsidiary brands are the vehicle to propel the evolution of youth baseball and softball.”