Forty Under 40: Colin Neville
Sports Business Journal
By Daniel Kaplan
April 4, 2016
When Colin Neville was putting together the landmark purchase of 13 percent of Manchester City by China Media Group late last year (a deal valued around $400 million), orchestrating the conference calls was half the work. Neville is in New York; Man City is in Manchester, England; the club’s owners are in Abu Dhabi; and China Media Group is in Shanghai.
“From a scheduling perspective, I had an intense couple of months,” he said. “There was not an hour of the day I was not on a phone call. … And yes, usually I was on the short end of that stick in terms of priority of scheduling.”
The Raine Group invests in and advises sports, media and technology companies. Since its founding in 2009, the group has quickly gained an outsized role in the industry, with major relationships with a lineup of companies that in sports includes Man City, the UFC and DraftKings.
Neville started in the firm’s first year and was one of a handful employees at the time, allowing him to quickly, as he put it, punch above his weight class.
“Raine was basically six or seven people. It felt in a lot of ways like working for a small startup,” he said.
In addition to the Man City work, Neville has advised on Steve Ballmer’s purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers, several EPL transactions, and David Beckham’s purchase of an MLS team.
A former Division I athlete, Neville knew he wanted to go into sports finance right away, but Raine did not exist when he got out of college. When the opportunity arrived to jump from M&A work at Bank of America, he took it immediately.
“Not many people get to combine their personal passions with their day jobs,” he said.
The Raine Group | Vice President
Where born: Manhasset, N.Y.
Education: Yale University (B.A., political science)
Family: Wife, Leslie; children: 1st-round draft pick coming in May
Advice I’d give to my younger self: Always take the long view. What you do today can pay off many years down the line in ways that may seem unimaginable.
2016 will be a good year if: My first child arrives safe and healthy — and the Jets make it to the playoffs.
Person in the industry I’d like meet: Phil Knight.
I’d like to change jobs for a day with: Rory McIlroy. He spends his days outside … in beautiful weather … playing golf.
Group supported: Habitat for Humanity.
Most thrilling/adventurous thing I’ve done: Bicycled 4,000 miles from New Haven, Conn., to the Oregon coast with my now wife.
You’d be surprised to know: I sang for the president at the White House twice and the national anthem at three L.A. Lakers games. And, I almost went to USC’s graduate film school after college.