During his time at Warner Bros. Discovery’s scrappy Turner Sports division, Will Funk helped put together “The Match,” a new celebrity golf tournament,and managed ad sales for March Madness, one of the nation’s top sports events. Now, he’s hoping to try something new.
Funk, one of the industry’s most influential sports-media executives, is leaving Turner to take a role as president of Range Sports, a new athletics-focused division of Range Media Partners, a talent-management start-up that launched last year under founder and CAA alumni Peter Micelli. The company counts Steven A. Cohen’s Point72 private-equity firm and A+E Networks as investors.
“We have had the pleasure of working with Will on various projects over the years, and each time, understood why he is one of the most respected minds in the world of Sports IP,” said Jack Whigham, a co-founding partner at Range. “The creativity, class and execution he brings to the job is exactly what we aspire for.”
Warner Bros. Discovery declined to make executives available for comment.
Funk leaves as Warner Bros. Discovery is scrutinizing its ad-sales staff, with many staffers on the Warner side of the house growing concerned about layoffs and buyouts. But Funk is leaving on his own terms, sources say, and is eager to try his hand at advising Range Media clients on media-rights management as well as content production and management. He is also expected to keep his hand in the worlds in which he lived at Turner, namely brand sponsorship. Range Sports expects to represent leagues and sporting venues for naming rights, sponsorship and other brand integration opportunities. Funk will also consult with marketers on sports strategy and investment, and in collaboration with Point72 Ventures, Range Sports will provide resources to incubate and grow consumer sports businesses. Range Sports also expects to represent current and former athletes, on-air broadcast talent and coaches focusing on marketing, TV/film, broadcasting and endorsements.
Funk, who joined Turner Sports in 2002 after logging stints at the NBA and Madison Square Garden, has helped manage the sales process behind some of sports’ most popular properties, including “NBA on TNT” and “MLB on TBS” as well as the March Madness men’s basketball tournament, which Warner Bros. Discovery shares rights to along with Paramount Global.
“Working at Range Media is a dream come true and the next step in my long career focused on providing sports properties and talent with exceptional growth and distribution opportunities,” said Funk in a statement. “The resources and business that Range has established as the leader in management and production is a perfect fit for sports.”