Matt Virtue joined Rival in March 2020, overseeing Rival’s business strategy and was named CEO in early 2021, expanding his role to cover all aspects of the business and operations. Virtue started his career with the English Premier League’s Liverpool Football Club, and has held various leadership roles on the brand and agency side since then. Most notably, Virtue was the VP of Global Business Development for BE.AT-TV, the world’s leading live video streaming platform, leading all revenue-generating initiatives, including landing partnerships with major entertainment properties AEG and Live Nation, among others. Virtue also has a depth of experience in media and experiential and spent time at Horizon Media’s Scout Sports & Entertainment, with a focus on property consulting and analytics, customized event creation, digital and social amplification. Virtue received a master’s in sports business and management from Columbia University and a bachelor’s from Middlebury College.
Edo Cohen brings more than 15 years of experience in digital marketing, mobile apps, SaaS and enterprise software platforms, with success in launching start-ups, including Flipswap, Inc., a mobile device trade-in software application; SeeVolution, Inc., a real-time web analytics platform; and Act Bold Media Group, serving global clients including Lenovo, VFC Corporation and Nike. Together with Shawn Murnan, he launched Rival in 2019. Cohen is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder.
With a mix of traditional sports and esports experience, across companies, brands and properties, Paul Brewer is CRO. Brewer comes to Rival from global esports leader ESL, where he was Senior Vice President of Global Sponsorships and drove sponsorships of ESL’s global assets. Prior to ESL, Brewer led sales and marketing at Warner Media’s Turner Broadcasting across its digital sports properties, including Bleacher/Report, NBA, NCAA, PGA and NASCAR. He also has experience from his role in marketing and partnerships at Samsung Electronics, overseeing the operations for Samsung’s World Cyber Games. Brewer started his career at ESPN in special events marketing. Brewer holds a master’s in sports business from New York University and a bachelor’s from the University of San Diego.
Dan Parise is Rival’s CMO, leading the company’s marketing and communications efforts. Parise joined Rival in 2020 after nearly a decade at Scout Sports and Entertainment as SVP, Managing Director where we oversaw Scout’s sports marketing and experiential business. His work on clients including GEICO, Burger King, Corona, Modelo, Honda Dealerships, United Rentals, FanDuel, Mohegan Sun and several others earned him industry awards, including Adweek Media All-Star (2012) and Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 (Class of 2017). Prior to Scout, Parise was the Director of Marketing for Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire for four seasons. Parise started his career at Strategic managing sponsorship activation for InBev USA brands. Parise has a bachelor’s from Colby College.
Dustin Embrey is Rival’s Executive Vice President, Special Projects & Investments and brings a depth of experience in school athletics administration and partnerships within the Meritas and Nord Anglia educational systems. Embrey started his career at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in sports events and sports operations. He served a three-year board member position for the Positive Coaching Alliances and is recognized as a Certified Athletic Administrator through the National Interscholastic Athletic Administration Association (NIAA). Embrey has a master’s in sports administration from Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s from Radford University.
Murnan co-founded Rival and launched the business in 2019. Murnan is a serial entrepreneur who has founded, operated, and successfully exited multiple wireless telecommunication, technology, and software companies over the past 28 years. He is an active investor evaluating opportunities primarily within the enterprise platform services space through his Family Office and as a principal in the private equity firm TBD Capital. Murnan’s ventures have developed and brought to market many SaaS and PaaS platforms for multiple Fortune 500 companies.
Launched in 2016 by Daie, FEVO enables social buying. Its partnership roster includes more than 600 clients across major and minor leagues, NCAA organizations and the world’s largest music festivals. Prior to FEVO, Daie co-founded LiveAnalytics at Live Nation Entertainment and led strategic partnerships for Ticketmaster’s music and arts division. A serial tech entrepreneur, Daie also worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. Daie attended Harvard University and graduated from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.
For more than 13 years, Davis has been a leader at New Balance, overseeing brand management, global business unit management, sports marketing, global brand marketing and global product merchandising. With an entrepreneurial mindset, Davis is a progressive and creative leader, pioneering New Balance’s entry into basketball, baseball, global football and skateboarding. In his career, Davis has worked with properties and athletes including the NBA, the Boston Celtics, Liverpool Football Club, AS Roma, plus the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard, Liverpool’s Sadio Mané and tennis player Coco Gauff, among several others. Davis is a graduate of Middlebury College.
With more than 20 years of experience in media, sponsorship marketing and sales management, Lester joined Barstool Sports as Chief Revenue Officer in 2018. As one of the most popular and leading innovative media companies, Lester has led Barstool’s strategy to scale revenue through its advertising, partnerships and licensing and in her tenure, has expanded the operation from New York to Chicago and Los Angeles. Prior to Barstool, Lester held executive roles at Whistle Sports, Major League Baseball and Yahoo! Sports. Lester is a graduate of the University of Vermont.
As CEO of OMD USA, Osborn is a recognized media executive, leading the company since 2017. With his leadership, OMD has reignited its growth with new business accounts including The Home Depot, Georgia Pacific, CANVA and the NFL, among others. Prior to OMD, Osborn was President & CEO of BBDO New York for 13 years. Osborn is active outside of the office, serving as Chairman of the Board of the American Red Cross for Greater New York and Vice Chairman of Global Dignity. He also serves on the AAF and Ad Council Boards. Osborn received his bachelor’s from Dartmouth College and is an active member of its alumni community.
Szubski is a seasoned executive, advisor and investor, with more than 15 years of experience building, operating and monetizing digital businesses at scale across news & media, sports betting and direct-to-consumer verticals. He has driven product and growth ideation with a focus on maximizing revenue while serving as the Chief Product Officer for the Daily Mail, Chief Executive Officer for The Action Network and Vice President, Digital for Playboy. Szubski received his bachelor’s from Bucknell University.
Sarafa is Chief Strategy Officer at leading engagement and loyalty platform Augeo, overseeing the company’s mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships and business development. Prior to Augeo, Sarafa spent five years with Bruin Sports Capital. While at the firm, Bruin Sports Capital raised nearly $1 billion of capital and acquired a total of 14 companies. Prior to Bruin Capital, Sarafa spent four years in Deloitte’s Investment Banking division. Sarafa holds a bachelor’s from the University of Michigan and a master’s in accounting from Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Sarafa was a three-time varsity letterman in baseball, and a member of Michigan’s 2008 Big Ten Championship team.
As an entrepreneur, global business leader and strategic advisor, Hays has more than 20 years of experience across esports, gaming, advertising and media and entertainment. She has successfully launched and developed business models for companies including Vivoom, Inc., GenArts, Inc. and in-game advertising company Massive, Inc. Hays started her career as one of the initial team members leading and building Goldman Sachs’ global digital media practice across New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. As a strategic advisor, mentor, guest speaker and author of several technical patents, Hays is regularly recognized as one of the most influential women and visionary leaders in digital media and technology. Most recently, Hays was named a Mobile Marketer Woman to Watch in 2017. Hays received her bachelor’s from Princeton University and MBA from The Harvard Business School and is a member of the Alumni Advisory Board for the Princeton University Entrepreneurship Council.