Rallycross, mixed martial arts, and skateboarding are a trio of action sports with global popularity. While each has its identity, the fanbase overlap is rather considerable as people enjoy watching humans—in a vehicle or not—take flight, hit each other, or pulling off inhuman movements. In 2015, the previous year’s X Games Global Rallycross Lites gold medalist Mitchell DeJong told The Checkered Flag in 2015 that the sport’s Supercar class was like a “UFC cage match on wheels”.
On Tuesday, a day before the X Games began in Southern California, Fiume Capital and Juggernaut Capital Partners gained all three as they purchased Thrill One Sports & Entertainment from the The Raine Group and Causeway Media Partners for $300 million (€292.8 million). Thrill One owns Nitro Rallycross and Street League Skateboarding, the latter of which was founded by entrepreneur and skateboarder Rob Dyrdek, and Dyrdek himself has become a co-investor in the new leadership alongside Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White.
“Our investment approach is predicated on supporting excellent management teams as they build premier businesses in their respective industries,” Fiume CIO David Hirschfeld said in a press release. “Thrill One is the leader in action sports and we are excited to help the company and its management team at this inflection point.”
Juggernaut founder John Shulman added the investment group’s “considerable investment demonstrates our belief that there is much more to come in this category, and we are eager to support Thrill One in its meteoric rise.”
A former professional skater, Dyrdek oversees the Dyrdek Machine venture creation firm which provides support to aspiring entrepreneurs and through which Dyrdek bought into Thrill One. He founded SLS in 2010 and led Superjacket Productions, a media company that since rebranded to Thrill One Media.
“It’s a dream come true to know that both SLS and Superjacket Productions are in such great hands with Thrill One’s management team and are positioned for such a promising future with this transaction,” he commented. “I look forward to continuing to partner with this incredible group of investors in creating game-changing content and redefining action sports.”
Thrill One was established in 2020 to consolidate ownership of properties like SLS, Nitro Rallycross, and Nitro Circus. Nitro Circus is a travelling extreme sports show led by Travis Pastrana, who launched Nitro RX in 2021 as an offshoot of the Nitro World Games‘ (a Nitro Circus-organised event) rallycross category. After racing exclusively in the United States for the inaugural season, the 2022/23 calendar has events in five countries and débuts the new Group E class. Nitro RX’s sophomore year began at Lydden Hill in June.
While UFC is independent from White’s Thrill One investment, his presence brings a bevy of knowledge to the table for sports promotion. He has served as the championship’s president since 2001, and it has thrived under his watch by blossoming into the world’s premier MMA competition and a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Thrill One CEO Joe Carr worked with White at UFC as its international Senior Vice President until 2017.
White described himself as having been “a big fan of the Nitro guys for a while now. They are always doing the most insane stuff and constantly raising the bar. The potential reminds me of the early days of UFC.”
“We formed Thrill One to create a centralised action sports platform for athletes, brands and fans,” Carr commented. “We have aggregated the largest audience and community in the space, and I am beyond excited to partner with this group of investors and individuals who have built businesses and entire sports from the ground up. The additional resources will fuel the growth and expansion of this platform.”
Also involved in the consortium are television executive Craig Piligian and Prudential Private Capital. Piligian, the president of Pilgrim Media Group, has produced shows like The Ultimate Fighter and Dirty Jobs, and won an Emmy Award for his executive producer work on Survivor in 2001.