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General  | General  | 8/17/2022

Ponger, Thurman Assume Leadership of PG

Photo: Perfect Game
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Veteran sport industry executives, Rob Ponger and Rick Thurman, today announced that they have assumed senior leadership of Perfect Game, the world’s largest youth baseball and softball platform and scouting service.

Ponger, former CFO of IMG Media, and Thurman, co-founder and former co-owner of athlete representation agency, Beverly Hills Sports Council, will serve as Perfect Game’s CEO and president/chairman, respectively.

In making the announcement, Ponger and Thurman also shared that Perfect Game Founder, Jerry Ford, will stay on as Perfect Game commissioner, while Brad Clement, the current CEO, will assume the newly created role of executive vice president/general manager.

Moving forward, both Ponger and Thurman will take on more visible roles with Perfect Game, after spending time working behind the scenes to usher in a new era for the organization. Under Ponger’s and Thurman’s recent guidance and leadership, Perfect Game has evolved into a multi-tiered sport enterprise that has added a proprietary tech platform (PG Tech), a multi-media platform (PerfectGame.TV), launched an apparel line and expanded internationally. Additionally, Ponger and Thurman have steered Perfect Game’s recent growth domestically in the amateur baseball and softball space through athletic and multi-use facility development, ownership and management.

“I’m excited to formally announce that my partner, Rick Thurman, and I have assumed senior leadership control of Perfect Game,” stated Ponger. “We view Perfect Game as the industry leader in the youth sports and event space, and, as we’ve already witnessed, we see tremendous growth opportunities for the brand. Jerry Ford, the Ford family, and all those involved with Perfect Game have done a tremendous job in establishing the organization as the best in the world at what it does, and I look forward to working with Rick and the entire Perfect Game family to help the organization reach new heights.”

Thurman added: “I echo Rob’s sentiments. Perfect Game has the potential to further establish its leadership position as the premier, multi-faceted youth and amateur sport organization providing best-in-class events, services, products and experiences to athletes, their families, industry executives and fans on a global scale. This is a great opportunity to build upon the outstanding efforts of Jerry Ford and grow Perfect Game into a truly global brand.”

“I look forward to supporting Rob and Rick as they lend their sport industry expertise to the Perfect Game business model and make it bigger and better than I could have ever imagined when we began this journey in the mid-1990s to provide playing opportunities for Iowa high school baseball players,” said Ford. “I know Perfect Game is in good hands, and I look forward to doing whatever I can to help Rob and Rick usher in this new and exciting era for Perfect Game.”

Ponger spent nearly 20 years at IMG where, serving as CFO of IMG Media, he provided financial and investment oversight, led mergers and acquisitions, directed corporate restructuring, and drove business development through the creation and implementation of strategic and tactical initiatives that helped position IMG as one of the world’s most successful entertainment and sports agencies.

Thurman co-founded the prestigious athlete representation agency, Beverly Hills Sports Council (BHSC) in 1984. In less than two years, BHSC became the largest and one of the most influential baseball player representation firms in the country. Thurman influenced the evolution of the contemporary sports agency over the last 40 years, by providing BHSC clients with an array of full-service management services that expanded beyond traditional contract negotiations and into outside business management guidance, personal marketing and promotion, legal counsel, and personal management all under one roof.