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Zelnick In Gear To Get Stake In Bike-Race Firm: Exec Reaches For Threshold, Eyes Sponsor Appeal

Variety, 06.19.02
Charles Lyons

Strauss Zelnick, the one-time prexy and chief operating officer of 20th Century Fox and recent CEO of BMG Entertainment, has taken a minority stake in Threshold Sports, established producers of bike races.

"We're investing in sports for its potential as media and entertainment," a ZelnickMedia spokesman said. "The goal is to create in effect the Tour de France of the U.S. The sport has the demographic base, broad public appeal and exciting spectator potential to become the sport of choice of health-conscious Americans."

But, of course, it's also about sponsorship potential. "Sponsorship of cycling events is an excellent and underutilized opportunity for companies to advertise to an important and growing demographic," Zelnick said. "Plus the potential to franchise local teams and events is enormous."

After leaving BMG a year and a half ago, Zelnick founded ZelnickMedia, which normally invests in media and entertainment companies. Company took a significant stake in Nippon Columbia, a leading Japanese independent record company; Savoy Records, the Jazz label that owns the catalog of jazz legends Charlie Parker and John Coltrane; and Internet gaming shingle Arkadium.