Despite adverse conditions, Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2021 Rising Stars of Private Equity sourced and closed deals while displaying creativity, flexibility, proficiency and patience. ZMC’s Jason Sporer and Red Bird’s Niraj Shah didn’t let quarantines prevent them from taking a long-term approach to investing in live events. Speaking of live events, we’re hosting our virtual celebration of the Rising Stars today.

Sporer didn’t let quarantine stop him from investing in The Second City’s live comedy. The club’s revenues were severely impacted during quarantine, but Sporer saw the light at the of the tunnel. Entertainment venues have once again opened their doors and people are getting out of the house again. “Jason was undeterred and showed prescient investment judgment,” said ZMC partner Sheila Dharmarajan

Sports also got impacted during the pandemic, with fans being barred from stadiums, but that didn’t stop Shah from taking a long-term approach either. He helped drive RedBird’s March 2021 investment in Fenway Sports Group. FSG is a global sports, marketing, media, entertainment, and real estate platform anchored by two of the world’s most iconic clubs, the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club. Most stadiums and arenas have reopened at a minimum limited capacity, so now is a good time to be an investor in the space. “Luckily, in 2020, we laid the groundwork with many of our portfolio companies to be ready for the return of live events,” Shah said.

As a fan myself, I don’t think there’s ever a bad time to invest in sports. How ’bout them Mets?

– Demitri Diakantonis