SV Sports Gets Funding Support From Chris Paul
Bringing a big name into the world of team sports and retailing, SV Sports Holdings, recently announced a funding round that included participation from Chris Paul, the 12-time NBA All-Star. The funding round comes as SV Sports, formerly Schuylkill Valley Sporting Goods, expands its internal team sales force and the mid-March opening of a new sports destination retail space in the LakePoint (Georgia) Sports Complex.
SV Sports is a retailer and team dealer of uniforms, equipment, apparel and footwear for youth, high school and college athletes. The business, founded in 1971, was recently acquired by John Scipio (CEO), Jason Lutz (president) and Ralph Greene (CMO), veterans of the sporting goods industry. The three executives came together to capitalize on the opportunity to inject cultural relevance into the team dealer model and deliver empowerment opportunities to diverse communities.
"We are thrilled to have Chris and his brother CJ join the SV Sports family and team,” says Greene. “Their grassroots youth teams and camps, their long history working with HBCUs and their commitment to supporting Black-owned business is a perfect trifecta for us.”
Chris Paul has leveraged his platform as an extraordinary athlete, entrepreneur and investor to positively impact youth sports and minority-owned businesses. As an investor in several African American-owned businesses, Paul continues to promote enterprises that provide empowerment opportunities to underserved communities.
"I’m excited about SV’s opportunity to redefine the sporting goods industry by leveraging diversity and focusing on cultural relevance for the youth athlete,” says Paul. “But what I’m most excited about is the company’s commitment to promoting empowerment opportunities to the historically underserved communities it serves."
Scipio boasts a 25-year career at Nike that includes a stint managing the footwear giant’s team division, where SV is a key account. Nike is where he met Lutz, who grew Villa from a single store owned by his parents into a mid-Atlantic powerhouse with 125 locations and $250 million in sales. And Greene was familiar with both Villa and SV from his days as VP of Nike’s Eastern Region — the largest in the athletic brand’s domestic portfolio.
“Coming from the lifestyle category in footwear and apparel, we all recognized that the key elements that drove success there – delivering personalization, self-expression, and cultural relevance – were largely missing from sporting goods,” says Scipio. “And you have a landscape where just two out of over 500 sporting goods companies have African American ownership, yet the major influences come from Black culture. So, we think there is a great opportunity to redefine the way the youth athlete is served.”