The University of Alabama showed off renovations to Bryant Denny Stadium Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. Sports Illustrated covers decorate the walls inside the new press box. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.] Credit: Tuscaloosa News

Brock Pierce, who played the child version of Gordon Bombay in the 1992 classic The Mighty Ducks, says he could wind up in control of Sports Illustrated as the result of a lawsuit he has filed against its publisher, The Arena Group.

According to The New York Post, Brock Pierce — who is now a “crypto mogul” — has filed a lawsuit against The Arena Group, alleging that it prevented him from selling a sizable amount of his shares in the company. The 42-year-old Pierce says that his investment firm, Warlock Partners, is The Arena Group’s second-largest shareholder after purchasing $17 million worth of stock at approximately $10 a share between 2020 and 2021.

But after the shares reached $14, Pierece said he tried to sell, only to be “stonewalled” by the company and CEO Ross Levinsohn.

“Defendants engaged in a pattern of delay, obfuscation, misstatements, and non-cooperation that wrongly prevented Warlock from acting upon its rights as a stockholder and depriving it of the right to freely market its Arena shares,” reads the lawsuit, which was filed in New York State Supreme Court last week.

The suit also alleges that Levinsohn sold 82,861 shares at $7.08 per share on March 6, yielding $586,655.88, and that stock price was helped by Warlock not being allowed to sell its shares. Representatives from The Arena Group denied Pierce’s claims to The Post.

“We strongly disagree with the claims in the complaint. The complaint contains fundamental errors, including the claim that Mr. Levinsohn sold shares in the company,” the spokesperson said. “Since he joined the company in 2019, Mr. Levinsohn has not sold company shares. He has purchased shares and he has forfeited shares pursuant to tax withholding.”

As for how Pierce could wind up in control of Sports Illustrated, he claims that The Arena Group — which was trading at $3.33 a share on Tuesday afternoon — isn’t in a position to settle the lawsuit financially. Thus, any deal involving stock would likely result in Pierce, who also starred in the 1996 film First Kid and ran for president as an independent in 2020, becoming the company’s largest shareholder.

“The company is not in a position to settle this,” Pierce told The Post. “If it ended up being resolved with stock that would make me the largest shareholder.”

While it remains to be seen what comes of the lawsuit, this is just the latest twist for Sports Illustrated since The Arena Group (then known as Maven) purchased its publishing rights from Authentic Brands Group in 2019. This past August, Levinsohn agreed to sell 65 percent of The Arena Group to the founder of 5-Hour Energy, Manoj Bhargava, although the deal has yet to close.

[The New York Post]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.