"First And Pen" is the sports media vertical from The Khanate Group; a media, tech, and eCommerce company fully committed to supporting and investing in underserved and overlooked communities, individuals, and voices of color. It is the product of vision, effort, belief, passion, upbringing and experience.
Our Mission: "We are first to the field and last to leave it, amplifying local sports stories from voices of color to the national conscience."
About Khanate Group, LLC
Experienced Media Executive
Yussuf Khan has over two decades of experience in the fields of sports and multicultural media. He has invested the last 16 years of his career in start-up ventures, building a successful track record at companies such as CSTV (now CBS Sports Network), Interactive One (now Urban One), Big Lead Sports and The Shadow League. The media veteran has a unique and diverse career path with a long history in the fields of multimedia sales, marketing, communications, journalism, and content creation.
He started his professional career at Chase Manhattan Bank in 1993 before transitioning into sports media in 1999. Starting as a member of the Game Night staff for the New York Knicks, he became a full-time employee at ESPN in the television planning group, where he rose to become one of the senior planners on the team, managing a portfolio of over $50 million in annual TV revenue. He also was co-creator of “The ESPN2 Block Party” in 2003, a summer programming initiative merging sports and urban culture.
After five years, Yussuf moved to start-up venture College Sports TV (CSTV) as one of company’s first Account Executives. Over his four years with the company, he was the company’s leading sales executive and secured the first conference sponsorships for CSTV partners Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference. He also helped develop shows such as the 20th anniversary of Doug Williams’ Super Bowl victory and the documentary “1st and Goal in the Bronx: Grambling vs. Morgan State”.
Yussuf continued his success at two new start-up ventures, becoming the top revenue generator as the Director of Sales at multicultural focused company Interactive One and as the Vice President of Sales at Big Lead Sports, where he led the New York based sales team before moving on to his next start up venture, The Shadow League.
As the General Manager/SVP of multimedia sports and culture platform The Shadow League, he was responsible for all departments including general company management, sales, marketing, operations, finance, communications and content development. Under his leadership, the company secured multi-year partnerships with blue chip companies such as General Motors and AT&T, grew revenues by 7x, achieved profitability status in its third year, established the annual “Shadow League Awards’ (which honored men and women of color in sports) and positioned the company for continued future growth.
Yussuf remained active in other areas, including editing, writing and publishing numerous sports and entertainment focused features. He developed and produced various podcast programs and original video web series such as “College Football Narratives” (which focused on the greatest Black quarterbacks in college football history). In 2019 he also completed his first documentary, “FLEXATRON: Becoming Shawn Rhoden”, which tells the life of bodybuilder Shawn Rhoden, who became the first Jamaican Mr. Olympia champion in 2018. It was a five-year project that is currently being distributed across various streaming and OTT platforms.
Now, after 20 years in multimedia, sports and entertainment, Yussuf has decided to channel his entrepreneurial spirit and success into his own venture, The Khanate Group, LLC, a diverse company with an integrated focus upon media, sports, technology, eCommerce and health/fitness. The first brand to launch is sports media property, First and Pen (www.firstandpen.com), which publishes stories from local sports writers of color and amplifies them to a national audience.
His love for the industry fueled his desire to teach and help cultivate the next generation of media talent, so he moved into the classroom. He is currently an adjunct professor teaching communications courses at Union County College and has also lectured at institutions such as Fordham, CUNY, Manhattan College and Baruch. His belief in giving back extends to community service. He has been a team leader at the annual New York Cares Clean Up Day for over two decades. In 2019 he was awarded with the Community Service Award by the Bronx Borough President’s Office for his efforts in, and service to, the borough.
Yussuf was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Horace Mann High School in 1989 and Trinity College in 1993 with B.A. in Political Science. He received a Certificate in Sports Marketing from NYU in 2002 and in 2014 he earned his MBA in Media Management from MCNY, where he was inducted into the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society for Business, Management and Administration.