Gerry Erasme is helping reimagine the private club experience with sport-centric programming.
As a global brand, entertainment and sports marketing executive working for Nike in New York City, Gerry Erasme ’84 often worked from the private club Soho House, where he was a member.
“It was right around the corner from the Nike office,” he says. “I took my meetings there. Hosted lunches there. It was convenient, but I also preferred the aesthetic to being in the office.”
But the club had some limitations, namely no television screens. “A lot of the business entertaining I did involved watching athletic events, but my clientele wanted a more upscale environment than a sports bar,” he says. Often, that included prominent athletes, whose security demands required a private space. “I would end up renting rooms at Soho House and bringing in TVs.”
In his newest venture, Erasme is helping curate the intersection of sports and culture within a private club setting for Core Club, a New York City member’s club that is rebranding and reopening in a new and larger space on Fifth Avenue in September. Core Club Milan will open in December, followed by Core Club San Francisco in 2024. Locations in Rome, Paris and London will follow.
In its original incarnation, Core Club targeted membership primarily from C-Suite executives in finance. In rebranding, the goal is to attract a younger, more diverse, membership of influential creatives, leaders and innovators by hosting high-profile cultural experiences, including lectures, screenings and performances. Erasme is drawing from a network de
veloped over his 25-year career at Nike to develop unique sports-centric programming. Imagine watching Arsenal early on a Saturday morning in a comfortable lounge setting, attending a talk by Spike Lee on stories from the Knicks floor, a book launch for ESPN’s Mike Greenberg or being led in a Peloton workout by star instructor Ally Love.
Erasme has always been a self-proclaimed sports junkie. A fan of Big East basketball growing up, he applied early decision to Syracuse University. He majored in psychology and information studies and joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., serving as chapter president. After graduation, Erasme went to work on Wall Street but found it wasn’t the right fit. “Those weren’t my people,” he says. “I knew I wanted to veer from banking and finance to marketing.”
Erasme headed to the University of Michigan to earn an MBA focused on international marketing. “I wanted to work in sports but didn’t know what capacity,” he says.
Between his first and second year in the program, Erasme was fortunate to land an internship with the U.S. Olympic committee in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “It was the summer of 1991, just before the 1992 Olympics and the first Dream Team with Jordan, Barkley, Ewing, etc. Athletes and sports executives were coming in for meetings that entire summer.
I made a ton of contacts, which led to landing a job at Nike,” he says.
In addition to working out of company headquarters in Portland, Oregon, Erasme spent time living and working in Hong Kong, China,
Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico. “It was a phenomenal opportunity to see and experience the world and to do it through sport,” he says.
Erasme retired as senior director of global brand marketing in 2017, began a consulting career, and later took a position with the USO to develop sports programming, plans that were waylaid by the pandemic. When he received a call from the founder of Core Club looking to tap into his expertise, he knew that he shared her vision.
“Members clubs tend to be a little older and more traditional. We’re updating that model through a wellness component and unparalleled programming as well as the best amenities—a restaurant, event space, screening room, gym, sauna and 11 beautiful suites,” he says. “Our goal is to create a global brand and global community that attracts sophisticated game changers.”