Global consultancy Ankura launches sports advisory practice

11 October 2022 2 min. read
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Expert services and advisory firm Ankura Consulting has announced the formal launch of its global sports advisory practice. Helping launch the offering is Senior Managing Director Jonny Gray, who arrives having previously helmed the International Tennis Integrity Agency.

Commenting on his new challenge, Gray, said, “I am thrilled to be joining Ankura after the last few years implementing the recommendations of the Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis, including establishing and being the first CEO of the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA). Ankura is a rapidly growing and ambitious firm that has a wide range of services that are of increasing demand to the quickly evolving sports sector, its investors, and stakeholders.”

Gray was the founding CEO of the ITIA, prior to which he was the Global Head of Sport and Major Events for specialist risk consultancy, Control Risks. There, he enjoyed a 15-year career, working both in the UK and US – presenting him with the opportunity to  obtain extensive experience working with major leagues, investors, sponsors, international federations, governing bodies, broadcasters and organising committees across a range of risk and integrity matters.

Global consultancy Ankura launches sports advisory practice

This experience will be key to Ankura’s efforts, as the consultancy looks to drive growth across its sports advisory practice. The new wing provides a full range of services including compliance and investigations, construction, data and technology to accelerate transformation, forensic accounting and due diligence for deals and disputes, dispute resolution, good governance of integrity risk plus cyber and data privacy risk management.

Kevin Lavin, Ankura’s Chief Executive Officer, added, “The sports sector is fast moving and rapidly maturing, and Ankura is harnessing its highly specialized experience across teams of cross-functional experts to serve clients in this industry.”

New clients will include sporting bodies, hosts, organizers of major events, investors and other stakeholders. The firm will assist the organisations globally, to reduce, manage, and mitigate political, reputational, and financial risks – driven by increasing societal expectations and a drive to professionalise sport in the wake of external investment.

Illustrating this disconnect, the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is currently mired in allegations of historic abuse of its players. An independent investigation into the scandals that erupted in the National Women's Soccer League last season found emotional abuse and sexual misconduct were systemic in the sport, impacting multiple teams, coaches and players. Following the report, the NWSL has been slammed by various prominent figures, including US national team star Alex Morgan, who argued one of her teammates “was failed by the system.”