Arent Fox sports lawyer Matthew Pace makes high-speed deals go round. We spoke with him yesterday, on the heels of his latest: introducing two clients, IRG Sports & Entertainment and TPG Specialty Lending, for a match that led to financing to buy a new racetrack. Cordova Dragway, in Illinois, is IRG's fourth racetrack, and Matt tells us the company is likely to announce buys of two more this year.
The deal comes full-circle in more ways than one. IRG principal Joe Lubeck discovered his love of racecars through working with Matt's father, a banker, on his first matter after graduating law school. Matt's father had a red Ferrari—the first time Joe had seen one. Decades later, he and friends acquired a raceway in Palm Beach as a place to legally drive their high-performance sports cars. It turned into a business, and they reached out to Matt, who helped them buy the International Hot Rod Association and finance and buy multiple racetracks. Joe gave Matt this Ferrari pen as a nod to that memory. (They joke that their children will be the next generation in the raceway chain.)
Matt points out a signed photograph from one of his first clients as a sports agent: a racecar flipping upside down (the client inside was unscathed). His career moved from law firms to representing athletes as an agent, to being executive director of Major League Lacrosse, and EVP and GC for GM's sports alliances arm, and back to law firms. Clients have included Alliance Baseball, UFC, the New York Jets, and the Garmin Sharp Pro Cycling Team. Outside of work he's a big sports fan and longtime Rangers season ticket-holder, but on the whole, he tells us, he's fascinated by the business of sports.