Mandalay Sports Entertainment, the pro sports division of Peter Guber’s Sony-based company, has named veteran soccer and basketball exec Harley M. Frankel as president, the company announced Wednesday.
Frankel will work with Guber, Mandalay chief financial operator Paul Schaeffer, and team owner/operators Hank Stickney and Ken Stickney to run the division.
The Mandalay arm owns three major sports franchises: the Las Vegas Stars, the Triple-A pro baseball affil of the San Diego Padres; the Las Vegas Thunder of the Intl. Hockey League; and the Lake Elsinore Storm, the Single-A pro baseball affil of Disney’s Anaheim (formerly California) Angels.
Guber founded the sports company last year with Schaeffer and the Stickneys. He said at the time that Sony had once considered buying the L.A. Lakers, but the investment in major league professional ball was considered too steep. So, once he started Mandalay, Guber turned to minor league sports.
“We look at this not as being in the sports business, but being in the sports entertainment business,” Guber said. “We felt that in Harley we had someone who knew how to approach the business in that manner.”
Guber said the sports division will continue to make acquisitions in the coming months.
He added that Mandalay has already started to create synergy between the entertainment and sports divisions by casting Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman in “Double Team” and by setting up Rodman’s autobio, “Bad As I Wanna Be,” at ABC as a telepic.
Hank Stickney, who is CEO of Mandalay Sports, said: “When we announced the formation of Mandalay Sports, we promised to select a major sports executive as president. I believe that in Harley Frankel we have found a seasoned professional who has excelled at the highest level of pro sports as a founder, a visionary and an executive.”
Frankel joins Mandalay after being exec VP and founder of Major League Soccer. He also operated three of the league’s teams in Dallas, San Jose and Tampa Bay.
He has served as exec VP in the NBA for both the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Before moving into sports a decade ago, he was VP of Warner Amex Cable Communications. He also served in many posts in the U.S. and Colorado governments, including: state budget director for Colorado; deputy director of the White House Personnel Office, and national director of the Head Start program.
Frankel will be based in Los Angeles at the Mandalay offices on the Sony Pictures Entertainment lot.