Connect Partnership Group Acquires Chicago-Based HARLON to Expand Sports, Music and Immersive Entertainment Offerings Nationwide

Dallas-based partnership sales and consulting firm acquires sponsorship sales and marketing agency HARLON, names Scott Howard EVP of Connect Property Sales division; Connect adds sales and consulting executives to support expansion

Connect Partnership Group, a Dallas-based sports and entertainment agency, today announced the strategic acquisition of HARLON, a full-service sponsorship sales agency that specializes in representing rights holders across sports, music, and entertainment. The acquisition will expand Connect’s growing portfolio of property sales clients, including the addition of immersive entertainment experiences to the company’s suite of offerings.

The announcement comes on the heels of the XFL selecting Connect as its sponsorship sales agency to enhance and execute the League's corporate partnership strategy.

As part of the acquisition, HARLON founder and industry veteran Scott Howard will join Connect as Executive Vice President of Property Sales out of the company’s Chicago office, bringing along HARLON’s exciting portfolio of immersive entertainment and music clients.

“For years I’ve admired the impressive work the Connect Partnership Group team has done, and I could not be more excited to step in and be a part of the company during an incredible period of growth,” Howard said. “I look forward to working alongside the Connect team and growing our business to provide the very best services for our clients.”

HARLON has been one of the Midwest’s most-respected emerging sales and marketing agencies, trusted by properties such as the Mempho Music Festival and Lighthouse Immersive, the powerhouse that created the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit. To date, the attraction has sold more than 5 million tickets across 20 markets in North America in less than two years and is one of Ticketmaster’s best-selling exhibitions in history.

Connect Adds Sales Veterans

In addition to the acquisition, Connect announced the addition of three new members to the sales and consulting teams, all with extensive partnership sales and consulting experience with some of the country’s leading sports and real estate properties.

  • Kristin Harwood joins Connect as Senior Director of Sales in Connect's Property Sales Division. Harwood spent more than five years managing partnership sales with the Seattle Mariners organization before assuming corporate partnership roles with the Dallas Stars, the XFL’s Dallas Renegades and Premier Partnerships.
  • Joining Harwood as Senior Director of Sales in Connect’s Property Sales Division is Matt Castellan, who will be headquartered in New York and will focus on Connect’s representation of Hudson Yards’ sponsorship rights. Castellan most recently oversaw sponsorship sales for the Bryant Park Corporation and 34th Street Partnership in New York City, and has extensive marketing and sales experience from past roles with Stanton & Company, Citi Bike, the 2016 Chicago Olympic City Bid and the 2012 NYC Olympic City Bid.
  • Price Johnson, who spent the last six years leading Topgolf’s Global Partnerships sales team, is joining Connect’s Consulting Division as a Special Projects Consultant to assist with its rapid national growth. Mr. Johnson brings over 25 years of combined sales, marketing and operational experience to Connect, including nearly 10 years in the software and communications industries, which aligns well with the Consulting Division’s growing roster of industry-leading technology companies.

“The past year has been one of incredible momentum for Connect, our team and our clients, and by adding HARLON and a powerhouse of experienced sales members to our team will only accelerate our ongoing scaling efforts, help secure more key wins for clients, and further position Connect as a leader in the sports and entertainment industry,” said Connect co-founder Danielle Shuff. “Connect is now bigger and more established than we ever have been, and we’re just getting started.”

Last Fall, Connect rebranded to reflect its rapid growth in areas beyond its formidable Partnership Sales and Strategy division, most notably its Consulting division, which has secured a unique niche in the industry by providing an outsourced business development team to companies that desire to sell their product or solution to large public venues. To support the continued growth - with Connect expecting year-over-year revenue to double as it readies more client announcements and client transactions in the second half of the year - the company is actively hiring sales professionals and account managers, with immediate openings in Los Angeles.

Since it was founded in 2015, Connect has been trusted by some of the most prestigious companies in the world, including the Dallas Stars, LA Chargers, Chicago Cubs, XFL, Related Companies, Circuit of The Americas, VIRGIN FEST, IBM, Nokia, American Tower, and CommScope, amongst others.

For more information about Connect Partnership Group or to contact directly, visit ConnectWins.com.

About Connect Partnership Group

Connect Partnership Group is a strategic sales and consultancy agency that specializes in representing and selling sponsorships, naming rights and other media assets in sports and entertainment, while also providing an outsourced business development team to companies that sell products and services to the industry. Based in Dallas, Tex., Connect capitalizes on a combined 120 years of sports business experience selling and activating sponsorships, operating events, consulting on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, and creating strategic and mutually beneficial partnership opportunities for properties and brands around the world.

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