Hank’s Yanks Baseball Outreach Program Serves People with Disabilities

Hanks Yanks pic

Hanks Yanks
Image: leaguelineup.com

Experienced investment professional and business owner Alfred Zaccagnino regularly gives back to the community through his support of organizations such as the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club and the Hank’s Yanks children’s baseball league. Recently, Alfred Zaccagnino was recognized with a Humanitarian Award at the inaugural Hank’s Yanks Golf Classic at the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point.

A not-for-profit organization, Hank’s Yanks was founded by Hank Steinbrenner to support youth baseball activities and create a youth-based service organization. Aside from running a traveling youth baseball league, Hank’s Yanks organizes a baseball program for people with disabilities called the Baseball Outreach Program (BOP).

BOP features baseball skill clinics, practices, and non-competitive games. The goal of the program is to make the game of baseball more accessible to people of all ages who are developmentally delayed or disabled, so that they can boost their self-confidence, physical abilities, and social skills while enjoying participation in one of America’s favorite pastimes. The annual “Under the Lights” BOP event was held in June at the State University of New York at Farmingdale.

The Expanding Role of Private Equity in Aviation

American media headlines portray industry volatility, lack of resiliency— the airline industry as helpless victim of market forces crippled by red tape, national tragedies, and federal regulation. The vox populi begrudges increased fares, fees, and foul­ups. But study global aviation market trends vis a vis private equity—and the upslope reveals the other side to the story. A story in which private equity is the perfect player, and the aviation industry is the perfect playground. Complete with twists, turns, and obstacles; and plenty of fun in the endgame.

The capital demands on airlines are steep. Fuel prices are high—fuel efficient aircraft is a must to keep costs down. Purchasing fleets of fuel efficient aircraft requires an outlay of capital that can be painful—or crippling—to bottom lines. So airlines have turned to leasing to mitigate cash flow demands—and private equity has seized the opportunity to be lessor.

Air travel is here to stay—the Airline Monitor projects a 4.8% annual increase in air traffic for the next twenty years. Consumer demand both nationally and globally remains strong, and history reveals volume has nearly doubled every fifteen years. Supply is low—airplane manufacturing is dominated by industry giants Boeing and Airbus—who’s waiting lists are years long. Given the capital demands, entrants to the supply side are unlikely—nodding to the stability of the supply­demand relationship.

Long­term, the transfer of assets (planes) between carriers is straightforward, lowering risk for investors and making it attractive to private equity.

“The aviation industry holds interest for private equity firms across the globe”, notes Alfred Zaccagnino, founder and President of the Samarian Group of Companies, a private equity firm headquartered in New York with a strengthening global presence. “The industry has proven resilient and demand has trended upward. The supply­demand relationship is interesting. All indicators show the number of private equity and aviation partnerships will continue to grow.”

Building on Private Equity Dollars

The ebbs and flows of the South African private equity industry are in direct correlation to the evolution of South Africa’s politics and policies. History has played a central role in defining the pace and the players of the country’s PE industry, possibly more so than in any other emerging market.

PE was flourishing in the United States and Europe long before it came to South Africa. Oddly enough, the foreign disinvestment of South Africa by the U.S. and Europe—as a response to apartheid—would open the market to local banks that swiftly took advantage of lucrative deals.

However, it was only after the country became a democracy and economic sanctions were repealed that the South African PE market began to rise.

According to the 2015 Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association Report, in the 1990’s, with the new political landscape, international investors became major players in South Africa. This was a game-changer. New opportunities for disenfranchised populations would develop.

But not all change came without growing pains. Tax legislation and extensive regulation did not always make sense. Tweaks and extensive alterations were made after it became clear that growth would be stunted.

South Africa was not impervious to the crash of 2008; it was felt around the world.   However, because that crash hit the United States and Europe first there was time to minimize the impact on the South African economy.

While South Africa is rich with natural resources, the present PE industry is diversified, with endless opportunity. The country’s infrastructure needs are considerable. Foreign investors have government support and are welcomed to work towards closing the gap. Construction is on the rise; a record number of South Africans are now entering the housing market.

A young, rapidly growing middle class has greater spending power than ever before. Retail demands are met with the construction of shopping malls that have a wide variety of stores and restaurants. Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of new technologies and seeking additional funding from domestic and international sources.

“The people and businesses of South Africa seem eager to enter into partnerships with companies in the U.K. and North America, ”notes Alfred Zaccagnino, President of Samarian Group of Companies, a private equity firm with an expanding international portfolio. “Their neighborhoods and malls should have the same brand names that are consistently appearing in other places around the world. Samarian Group is eager to participate alongside common brands in an evolving South Africa.”

Private Equity in Professional Sports: Perfecting the Endgame

Sports and entertainment, to most professional sports fans, feels redundant. Sports are entertainment. Football commands the attention of half of America’s population on any given Sunday, and marketing departments are hard at work attracting the other half. A favorite team, in any sport, that earns the “W” brings unrivaled bliss, impish satisfaction, and bragging rights. Sports are woven into the fabric of our culture; each game reminds us of our love for winning, hatred for losing, and our obsession with keeping score. Green fields, hardwood courts, and sheets of ice become battlegrounds of finesse, agility, pride and grit. We can’t get enough. Professional sports are America’s entertainment, and they’re here to stay.

Win-loss records, historically, have weighed heavy on bottom lines. Victories, winning seasons, and championships can be elusive. But to private equity, winning games doesn’t  matter. It doesn’t have to. Returns count–wins don’t– and history shows private equity could have the candy-making secret. In a nine year span, the enterprise value of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs tripled, according to Forbes, accounting for $413M in value. So how does mediocre on-ice performance, a disenchanted fan base, and no chance of making fingerprints on the Stanley Cup lead to industry-leading returns?  It’s the business equivalent of terroir to wine grapes, merroir to oysters– the bounty is derived from the perfect, delicate balance of key factors and forces. It’s making astute moves, redefining surplus, and living for the bottom line and the trophy. It’s business sense unencumbered by love for a team.

“The role of PE in professional sports will continue to evolve. As professional sports has leveraged technology to engage fans and broken new ground in revenue generation, doors have opened for private equity,”  notes Alfred Zaccagnino, President and Founder of the Samarian Group of Companies, a private equity firm headquartered in New York City. “If current trends continue, ownership of professional sports teams will continue to be a promising sector for private equity in the next decade.”