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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

OCBJ INSIDER: Football Follies

Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers, one of the three Rs at Newport Beach’s RX3 Growth Partners, alongside Nate Raabe and Roth MKM’s Byron Roth, made headlines a few weeks ago by going on a multi-day “darkness retreat” in the woods of Oregon.

He was expected to get more sunshine in OC this month, as consumer-focused PE fund RX3 hosted its second-annual flag football charity fundraiser March 11 at Saddleback College.

For more on the event—which last year drew Rodgers and numerous pro QBs and other notables—and RX3, which invests in a variety of consumer-focused businesses, see next week’s print edition of the Business Journal.

It’s also been sunny skies for Laguna Hills talent agency Athletes First, which counts Rodgers among its 300+ NFL clients. It recently got a pair of VC investors, Mastry Ventures and General Catalyst, to buy a majority stake in the firm.

National reports say the deal values Athletes First “significantly more” than its $50 million valuation in 2015, when Japanese ad firm Dentsu bought a one-third stake in the sports agency. See next week’s edition for more.

A month ago, I noted that the Los Angeles Chargers had started marketing its current operational base at Costa Mesa’s Hive office complex for sublease, as it gears up to move into a new office and training facility in El Segundo, not far from SoFi Stadium, where it now plays its home games.

Players on the Chargers would suggest anyone looking to take over their “Performance Center” should ask for a discount, based on their evaluation of the site, which is located along Susan Street, next to Anduril Industries’ massive new headquarters.

The NFLPA, the union representing NFL players, recently released its annual report card that evaluates players’ overall working conditions at each team, which “includes the daily experience of players at the team facilities away from the lights and cameras.”
The Chargers placed 30th out of 32 teams.

Players “felt there are deficiencies with the training room, cafeteria and locker room, which all grade poorly among respondents. The maintenance for the hot and cold tubs is lacking, with multiple respondents calling them ‘gross,’” the NFLPA report said.

One area the Chargers players felt the team did well was in strength training, though the report card noted complaints with the team’s existing weight room.

Anecdotal evidence would suggest that maybe what’s really needed at the team’s new El Segundo spot are mirrors for player self-reflection.

In the summer of 2020, the team set up a temporary, outdoor weight room for the team at the Irvine Marriott, where it has held some training camp and preseason activities for several years.

Based on the observation of the Business Journal, whose offices are in the Irvine Towers complex that holds the hotel, it might have been the least-used gym in OC.

A lack of conditioning and strength for the Chargers was most recently highlighted in January when the team lost a 27-point lead to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the third biggest playoff collapse in NFL history and the latest in a long-running trend of late-game failures by the team.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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