Mandalay Sports Media has acquired Roadside Entertainment, a sports and entertainment production company based in New York City and founded by veteran producers Ron Yassen and John Hirsch. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Roadside and its staff will operate under the Mandalay Sports Media banner and Yassen and Hirsch will become exec veeps of production for Mandalay Sports. The acquisition establishes an east coast hub for Mandalay Sports.
Launched in 2004, Roadside produces programming for television, digital platforms and in branded entertainment, in both long and short form formats. Its portfolio includes TV series and specials for ESPN, IFC, ABC, VH1, BET, the Sundance Channel, the NFL Network, CBS, and Showtime. The company also creates branded entertainment and commercial projects for advertisers including Reebok, Microsoft, EA Sports, The Honest Company, and Unilever. Yassen and Hirsch were co-founders, along with Cash Warren and Baron Davis, of NOC, a sports network on YouTube funded by Google in 2012.
“We are excited to have Ron, John, and their team join the MSM family. They bring a wealth of producing experience and an impressive client list to MSM, and most importantly, we believe they are a great fit creatively with our company,” said Mike Tollin, Co-Chairman of Mandalay Sports.
“The opportunity to tell stories is a privilege and one that will be enhanced by collaborating with Mandalay,” said Ron Yassen.
“We are thrilled to join the team at MSM. This move allows us to broaden our opportunities to produce content across all formats and platforms with a group whose vision closely aligns with ours,” said John Hirsch, in a prepared statement.
Rich Battista, CEO of Mandalay Sports, said the acquisition will “fortify our efforts to produce first-rate content across all media platforms and also allows us to establish an immediate physical presence on the east coast.”
In addition to his work at Roadside, Yassen was part of the launch team at Classic Sports Network (now “ESPN Classic”) and has produced and directed more than 30 documentaries for ESPN,as well as series “SportsCentury,” and “Outside the Lines.” He won a Cine Eagle award as a director on “Glory In Black and White,” which inspired the feature film, “Glory Road,” produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. His first documentary chronicled the historic season of baseball player Roger Maris.
Hirsch is an Emmy Award-winning producer and director who began his career in live sports production at FOX and ABC Sports. He left ABC to launch the XFL, where he helped create the television production division, and went on to focus on directing teases and promotional elements for the Super Bowl and the World Cup.
Mandalay Sports Media was launched in 2012 by Peter Guber’s Mandalay Entertainment, producer Mike Tollin and CAA Sports.