Buffalo.Agency Spins Off from Billy Casper Golf, Appoints John Watson as Executive Chairman, Kyle Ragsdale as CEO

by | Jan 23, 2019

Buffalo.Agency—the fully-integrated marketing firm representing golf, sport and lifestyle brands globally—has spun off from its parent entity, golf course management company Billy Casper Golf (BCG).

The move comes after a recapitalization of Buffalo that includes a round of outside investment to accelerate expansion plans.

The new Buffalo Groupe, LLC is led by John Watson as executive chairman. He was most recently president of Hallmark Retail where he helped spearhead a significant transformation of the specialty retail group. Previously, Watson was president and CEO of Edwin Watts Golf Company from 2008 to 2014 and has also directed worldwide brands HSN / IAC (president and chief operating officer), Sunglass Hut (CEO) and Reebok (global chief marketing officer).

Watson will guide all aspects of Buffalo, including strategy, fundraising, organizational development, governance and shareholder value.

“As we embark on this new, ‘super-charged’ chapter for Buffalo.Agency, we couldn’t ask for a better leader than John,” says Peter Hill, chairman and CEO of BCG, the majority shareholder of Buffalo Groupe. “His impressive and unique mix of golf and retail experience, combined with his extensive professional network and business acumen, is ideal as we enter a phase of rapid growth.”

“I’ve known Pete for many years and have been a long-time admirer of Buffalo,” says Watson, who served on the board of directors of the National Retail Federation and National Golf Foundation. “I’m honored to join the Buffalo team as we kick off what promises to be an exceptionally dynamic stage of our company.”

Joining Watson is Kyle Ragsdale, who previously split his responsibilities between the BCG and Buffalo businesses. In his new role as CEO, he will now devote 100 percent of his time to Buffalo. The former top revenue and marketing officer with Vox Media, Ragsdale is responsible for development and execution of Buffalo’s vision and strategy. This encompasses accountability for all day-to-day business operations, including recruitment and management of talent, fundraising, acquisitions, client services and financial results.

Rich Katz, who founded Buffalo in 2001, maintains his leadership role on the agency’s executive committee as founder & principal. He will focus on strategic growth areas, notably new business pursuits, entry into adjacent industries, formation of major partnerships and other initiatives. Katz will continue to represent Buffalo at industry events, leveraging a network derived from nearly 30 years in the golf business.

“Buffalo’s next phase would not be possible without the blood, sweat and tears Rich has and continues to pour into the business,” says Hill who, with longtime business partner, Bob Morris, and golf legend Billy Casper, founded BCG in 1989. “What started as an idea and a few journalists’ names on the back of a cocktail napkin 18 years ago has grown into the world’s leading golf, sport and lifestyle marketing and PR agency. For that we remain perpetually and immensely grateful.”

Adds Ragsdale: “Today’s announcement is just the beginning. In coming weeks and months, more executive appointments and further developments will be shared as we aggressively build the world’s first marketing platform designed to connect brands to the ‘golfing life.’”

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