ESPN‘s Bill Simmons, FiveThirtyEight statistician Nate Silver, and Mandalay Sports Media’s Peter Guber are among the panelists scheduled for South By Southwest‘s inaugural SXSports program, which will launch during the annual film, interactive, and music festival’s 2014 edition. Last year at the forward-thinking Austin fest Shaquille O’Neal gave a talk on social media and start-ups. The new track highlighting the overlap of film, media, pop culture, innovation, and tech in sports is part of the SXSW Film and Interactive conferences and runs from Friday, March 7 to Sunday, March 9. SXSports kicks off with an opening session with Golden State Warriors and Dodgers co-owner Guber, ex-Sony head and current CEO of Mandalay Entertainment. SXSports-branded features will screen in the main SXSW Film program which the fest announces in February. Here’s the first batch of confirmed SXSports sessions:
LOS ANGELES (July 31, 2013) — Mandalay Sports Media (MSM), the sports content and media company founded in 2012 by Peter Guber and Mike Tollin, announced today that it has received a strategic investment from Columbia Capital and Rho Ventures, two leading private-equity firms with significant investments and experience in media and entertainment. As part of the transaction, the investors have acquired a minority equity stake in MSM, and representatives from Columbia and Rho will join MSM’s Board of Directors. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Former top cable TV executive Rich Battista has joined Mandalay Sports Media as CEO. The sports entertainment company was launched in March 2012 by Mandalay’s chairman and CEO Peter Guber and film and television producer-director Mike Tollin. Battista will oversee MSM’s day-to-day business operations, including spearheading business development and identifying strategic opportunities for investment and acquisition.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has set Scott Rudin to produce Sinatra, the film Martin Scorsese will direct about the life of singer-actor Frank Sinatra. Rudin joins Mandalay’s Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman, who brought in the project to the studio almost two years ago after they secured life and music rights from Frank Sinatra Enterprises, which is a joint venture of the estate of Ol’ Blue Eyes and the Warner Music Group. Phil Alden Robinson had been the original writer, but I’m told they are looking for another scribe. Scorsese’s Sikelia is also producing as is Tina Sinatra.
Rudin, nominated twice in the Best Picture Oscar race this year for producing The Social Network and True Grit, produced the 1999 Scorsese-directed Bringing Out the Dead. Rudin’s currently producing the David Fincher-directed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which Steve Zaillian adapted from the Stieg Larsson novel, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the Stephen Daldry-directed adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel that stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. He is prepping at Paramount the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy The Dictator, and at Universal he’s got the Paul Greengrass-directed Martin Luther King Jr. assassination drama Memphis.