The General Sports Mission
Anyone who has participated in sports as an athlete or a spectator has vivid emotional memories of moments that cemented their passion for sports. These moments are woven into the fabric of our collective history and provide a tremendous bond across cultures and socio-economic divides. Sport is unmatched in its ability to affect positive change — generating economic growth, fostering national pride, and improving the health and well-being of children and young adults. No one understands this better than General Sports and Entertainment. We were founded on the belief that nothing can bring people together like the power of sports.
General Sports was established with the very purpose of developing a sports and entertainment firm that would ultimately pursue the acquisition and management of Major League professional sports franchises. Since then, GSE has grown by leaps and bounds, developing a strong consulting practice and a premier sponsorship and naming rights division.
Our mission is to use the power of sports and entertainment as a platform to help our clients build relationships with their clients, customers, employees and the community.
Andy Appleby, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Sports and Entertainment, LLC, and Founder of AppleTree Advisory, LLC has more than 35 years of sports management experience. Since founding General Sports in 1998, Andy has led the effort to develop all of its operational divisions, subsidiaries and affiliated entities, as well as having created the General Sports Foundation. Andy was awarded the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2002. Under Andy’s leadership, General Sports has had a very strong rise into the upper echelon of the sports and entertainment industry.
23 Years of Excellence
1998 — GSE Founded
Andy Appleby founded General Sports with the purpose of developing a sports and entertainment firm that would ultimately pursue the acquisition and management of Major League professional sports franchises.
1999 — Purchased Fort Wayne Wizards
General Sports owned and operated this team from 1999 to 2006. We applied major league practices to this minor league team and transformed them from a money-losing team with little fan support into a first class operation with sustainable profit.
2001 — Sports Executive Leadership Conference
The Sports Executive Leadership Conference is a meeting of the great minds in sports. The conference was designed to be the quintessential leadership and networking event for the top executives in the global sports industry. Since its inception in 2001, the Sports Executive Leadership Conference has become the one "must attend" event in the sports industry.
2003 — Started General Sports Turf Systems
Our artificial turf company was wildly successful, selling and constructing upwards of 50-100 fields per year at the time it was sold to Astroturf in 2009.
2008 — Purchased Derby County Football Club
In January 2008, General Sports acquired the Derby County Football Club, an English Premiere League football club based in the iPro Stadium in Derby, England. Formed in 1884, the Rams were one of the founding members of the English Football League in 1888. Derby County is currently in the Championship League, but aspires to someday make it back to the Premiere League (EPL).
2015 — Founded USPBL
The United Shore Professional Baseball League was founded by General Sports, and is the culmination of a 10-year effort to bring professional baseball to the Detroit area. The USPBL launched May 2016 with an initial slate of three teams playing a full 75-game schedule at Jimmy John’s Field in historic downtown Utica, with its fourth team added for the 2017 season.
2018 — Founded AppleTree
AppleTree Growth Strategies was created to assist clients by facilitating connections between best-in-class businesses. Andy Appleby has spent his career over 35 years cultivating meaningful relationships at the highest levels, and connecting individuals and businesses who can help each other immensely.
2020 — Founded General Sports Worldwide
Starting in 2020, General Sports Worldwide will bring our world-class sports management back to the international stage. We have identified key growth areas to target where we feel we can bring great value to our partners.
General Sports Worldwide
We see a large opportunity to create a medium sized “IMG type” sports marketing and management company. With sports booming in an unprecedented way, mere mortals can’t buy into a sports team - with even minor league team valuations going through the roof in recent years. There are simply fewer opportunities to invest in sports.
Andy Appleby will lead the new venture. He is uniquely qualified (with over 35 years of experience at the highest levels of sports) to develop a world class and highly profitable company. He has identified the top three areas in sports (Player Representation in the UK, Europe, and the US, Jersey/Shirt Naming Rights Brokering, and Sports Team Mergers and Acquisitions) that he feels are poised for significant growth. The timing is right for the two areas to work with ”best in class” management, marketing and strategy. Andy is probably the only person in the world who has sold tickets, suites and sponsorships at every level in sports; Managed at every level of sports and also owned at every level of professional sports (both major and minor). In addition, he has also owned and grown a successful sports marketing firm with global contacts for over 23 years.
In addition to our focus of growing each of the two divisions, we also plan to bolster the new business by acquiring additional firms to further leverage our internal expertise and intellectual property. Not simply bolting on companies, we will be singularly focused on doing everything we can to build the profitability and brand.
In the end, the goal is to have a wonderful and elite brand in sports and entertainment that is highly profitable while being synonymous with the highest level of skill, integrity and excellence that we believe will be an extremely well received collection of assets and a great investment.
United Shore Professional Baseball League
In the summer of 2015, GSE announced the creation of the United Shore Professional Baseball League, an independent professional baseball league which will be based out of Jimmy John's Field in Utica, MI. Andy Appleby has loved minor league baseball ever since he was young, and it has been a goal of his since owning the Fort Wayne Wizards to start his own minor league. The league is the first of its kind in Metro Detroit and aims to provide a fun and exciting family atmosphere, while showcasing top baseball talent to fans of all ages.
The USPBL launched May 2016 with an initial slate of three teams playing a full 75-game schedule at Jimmy John’s Field in historic downtown Utica. The USPBL is the first league in history to feature best practices such as having all of its games played on prime dates, Thursday to Sunday from mid-May through early September – the very finest months of weather in Michigan.
The USPBL added a fourth team, the Westside Woolly Mammoths, in 2017, joining the Utica Unicorns, the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers, and the Eastside Diamond Hoppers.
As the USPBL develops additional ballparks in the years to come, every ballpark will always feature two home teams, which will give our league the benefit of having home games every weekend and on only the best days of the week (Thursday to Sunday) and in the very best months for weather in Michigan.
General Sports Alliances
General Sports and Entertainment's Naming Rights and Sponsorship Development division, General Sports Alliances, brokered strategic matches between sports and entertainment properties and corporate partners. GSE offered a broad range of services in this area such as sales representation, the development and implementation of naming rights campaigns, sponsorship evaluation, sponsorship negotiation services, and the development of high-end sports marketing collateral.
GSA’s mission was to build a premier national sports and entertainment sponsorship organization in North America by providing specialized sponsorship sales and consulting services to premier properties and major corporations. GSA built long-term, client focused relationships by providing its services through highly skilled personnel and through its uncompromised set of core principles: quality, integrity and the passion to drive our client’s business.
GSA was hired by USA Triathlon to assist in securing sponsorships. USA Triathlon is responsible for the selection and training of teams to represent the United States in international competition, including the world championships, Pan Am Games and Olympic Games.
Already successful in securing the team with its kit agreement, GSA handled all levels of sponsorship sales inventory for the Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Racing team.
GSA also represented the PGA of America, whose properties include the Ryder Cup, PGA Championship, Senior PGA Championship, and the US Amateur. Additionally, they are responsible for all 27,000 PGA professionals and are the single retailer of golfing goods and services through 10,000 golf facilities.
GSE Consulting specializes in acting as a global business catalyst. We provide sponsorship consulting services to several prominent North American corporations on a variety of levels. While our scope of work varies per client, we consistently deliver measurable value to clients by utilizing decades of expertise within sponsorship. GSE provides our clients with full agency options including proposal management and evaluation, sponsorship planning, contract negotiations and management.
We also focus on technologies that improve sports and entertainment, helping a variety of businesses gain access to capital and break through barriers to entry at an accelerated rate. In difficult economies, money is held closer to the vest and barriers to entry are higher than ever. GSE Consulting can act as a sledge hammer, destroying these walls.
Whether it is an established company looking to expand their market share, a start-up looking to raise capital, or a company looking for an exit, GSE Consulting will be able to tap into its large relationship base to secure the necessary support.
Team Acquisition & Management
Through the Team Acquisition and Management division, General Sports and Entertainment strives to deliver measureable results for each major or minor league franchise it owns and operates while at the same time creating an organization that is a highly visible, caring member of the community. In addition to deploying a skilled management team to run the day-to-day operations of the club, GSE is well versed in building sports management and marketing programs that maximize revenue streams in the following areas:
The GSE team also provides expertise in the following services:
Sports Executive Leadership Conference
Over its thirteen year history, from 2001 to 2014, the Sports Executive Leadership Conference, owned and produced by GSE, has attracted some of the industry’s top team owners, presidents and high-level sports executives from around the world. The groundbreaking event offers world-class keynote speakers on everything from business to economics and politics. It brings the world’s thought-leaders to the sports industry elite.
The conference was designed to be the quintessential leadership and networking event for the top executives in the global sports industry. Like the Allen and Company event in Sun Valley, Idaho, where media and technology moguls converge every year, the Sports Executive Leadership Conference provides a forum for individuals to discuss the biggest issues in the global sports industry.
What separates the Sports Executive Leadership Conference from every other meeting, convention, or conference is our philosophy. The conference is comprised of a series of events and activities that are grounded in the fundamental principle that when great minds gather, great things happen. It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on creating the perfect environment to share ideas, build relationships, and relax with peers at a locale far from the hectic world we live in every day.
Quite simply, this is a conference where relationships take center stage. This exclusive event links the industry leaders who shape and control sports in North America and around the world. The conference provides a unique opportunity for the most influential sports executives to spend three days sharing new ideas, challenges, and opportunities for the purpose of building relationships and strengthening this dynamic industry.
Apple Tree Growth Strategies
With GSE’s extensive database network, we are able to introduce companies to decision makers at the highest level of business, sports and politics. We consult and act as a business accelerator to Best-in-Class companies both within and outside the sporting industry.
AppleTree has a very strict adherence to only working with the best products, services, and people. By working with only the best of the best, it’s not selling – it’s putting together winners with winners.
The objective of our work is for the benefit of what we like to call mutual improvement. The concept was originally established by Benjamin Franklin in 1727, in which a group of his friends, all from different industries, would regularly come together and share their best practices and relationships.
General Sports is a company that works all over the world, growing businesses. We can provide assistance in the following areas:
In 2001, the General Sports Foundation's banner program, the Suite Dreams Project, was launched. The mission of the Suite Dreams Project is to bring comfort and joy to children affected by serious medical conditions. By creating healing environments in their homes, hospitals and communities, our aim is to improve their quality of life and speed up recovery. We primarily focus our services on children and families in low and moderate income, urban areas by transforming their bedrooms and other areas of their homes into beautiful healing spaces where they can rest and recover. Since 2001, the Suite Dreams Project has completed more than 200 healing environments serving thousands of chronically ill children in Michigan and Indiana.
The Suite Dreams Project has plans to expand nationally, and it has been featured in People Magazine and Oprah's O magazine, as well as on the CBS Early Morning Show as a charity on the rise. In 2001, in its first year of operation, the Suite Dreams Project won the Portrait of Hope Award from Detroit's Hour Magazine as the charity of the year.
Visit The Suite Dreams Project for more information.