• Background

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.

Andy Appleby

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.

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.

Our Divisions

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.

Jimmy John's Field Crowd Cheering Mascots on Lawn

Our Divisions

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.

Jimmy John's Field Crowd Cheering Mascots on Lawn
Team Acquisition and Management Logos

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:

  • Ticket Sales
  • Corporate Sales and Sponsorships
  • Publication Sales
  • Food and Beverage Income
  • In-Stadium and Direct Mail Novelty Sales
  • In-Stadium Advertising
  • Hospitality
  • And Much More

The GSE team also provides expertise in the following services:

  • Staff training and development
  • Sports franchise specific financial review and strategic planning
  • Development and execution of marketing and promotional strategies
  • Negotiation of stadium leases
  • Creation and implementation of community outreach programs
  • Public relations

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.

SELC Speakers SELC Audience SELC Outdoor Gathering
Suite Dreams Healing Space Suite Dreams Healing Space
The Suite Dreams Project Logo

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.