Steve Rifkind, the label head who founded Loud Records before selling it to Sony and creating SRC Records, has signed a partnership deal with the brand new American Basketball League, the U.S.’s first professional league with international FIBA rules, which will kick off its inaugural season in January 2013.
The partnership is a branding and promotional deal, which also includes the launch of an apparel division which will “focus on merchandising and branding efforts targeting domestic and global markets,” according to a press release. The apparel line will be headed up by Dave Klink.
“Integrating the worlds of entertainment and basketball poses a challenge to make sports history,” said Rifkind in a statement. “The ABL offers a platform to present an entertainment product which will integrate the US and global basketball worlds. Our vision could change the course of professional basketball.”
The ABL, which is being touted as an alternative to the money-losing minor-league basketball operations that are currently in the market, will have 12 teams and a 24-game schedule, with initial clubs based in Miami, San Antonio, San Marcos, Sugarland, College Station, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Watson Beach, Sebring, and Corpus Christi, with plans to expand into New York and California. The league is headed up by founder Steve Haney, former representative of Magic Johnson and Dominique Wilkins.
Rifkind rose to prominence in the music industry by signing, managing, and working with artists such as the Wu-Tang Clan, Big Pun, Akon, Melanie Fiona, David Banner, Xzibit, Three Six Mafia, and more, as well as developing marketing campaigns for HBO, Nike and T-Mobile.
“Steve Rifkind is a pioneer of not only American music, but American culture,” Haney said in a statement. “Combining our experiences and networks will create a professional basketball product never seen before in America”.