We see ourselves as a value add investor in sports agencies globally. The focus is all about finding the cream of entrepreneurial sports agents and helping them take a good business and make it into an excellent business without, at any stage, expecting the entrepreneur to give up their autonomy to run the business as they see fit.
We are founder-friendly, We understand sports management companies inside & out & We have access to capital experienced in sports.
We only do it if it’s going to be fun. We like our partners to win so we can win. We like to grow year on year. We do what we say. We’re curious the whole time. We value a call or a meeting above all else. We value mistakes more than success. We think a lot about our impact on others.
At the time of writing, we’re pretty much the only dedicated strategic investor in the sports agency niche. Probably our main competition is the handful of acquisitive large scale sports agencies out there who seek to takeover and integrate target agencies.
Most often an agency will benefit from some of our capital and a menu of services to choose from all designed to help them grow faster and more profitably than they could alone. Turning to the ‘why’ now – most likely the entrepreneur has reached a fork in the road – sell the agency to a larger competitor and grow that way but lose control and autonomy, take a large bank loan to pay for expansion but open the business up to aggressive and faceless financial institutions or find a partner who really understands the sports agency marketplace and is happy to leave the day to day to the existing team. Sometimes the founder is right at the start of their journey and rather than self fund a corner shop start up wants to go big from day one. This will normally be an individual or team leaving a large agency with a portfolio of high profile clients. Finally, it could be the founder of an agency wishing to retire and hand over the reins to the next generation. In this case a succession plan is needed with accompanying finance.
We offer a cafeteria of different solutions and encourage agencies to pick and choose those which will help them the most: Examples include: brand and web design, video and audio content creation, accounting and book-keeping, legal contract templates, HR advice, compliance with sports federation rules and regs to name but a few.
No! Our USP is that we never try to turn an entrepreneur into an employee. So our role is to empower not to dictate to or dilute their own brands. Also, the secret sauce in our business model is having a highly decentralised approach such that an entrepreneur in Baltimore or Birmingham can make day-to-day decisions without reference to us. I believe if we tried to insist upon brand and head-office style messaging we would soon see our partners become disaffected and lose their identity with their clients. It remains the case that whilst global brands sometimes help win a client they rarely help keep a client – what matters is the creativity, consistency and talent of the agency’s team.
We always start with a get to know you meeting or zoom with the decision maker at an agency. From that contact we assess two things – is there strong immediate chemistry and can we make a real difference to the agent’s business. If all parties are motivated to move forwards we get into a 3 phase engagement. Phase 1 is business and financial planning. This is normally an 8 week intensive phase and we make a small charge to an agency to cover some of the costs we incur in providing 80-120 hours of our time and expertise. If phase 1 goes well and we end up with an exciting, achievable business plan then phase 2 and 3 are all about the deal itself. We figure out how much capital the agency will need, what sort of revenue share we will need to justify our involvement and the services that the agency needs from us to execute the business plan efficiently. From flash to bang is normally 3-6 months.
Our clearly stated journey is to gradually build a portfolio of revenue shares in about 60 agency firms located globally. We may well list the shares of Athletz on a stock exchange in future so that we have access to larger amounts of capital to help our partners do ever bigger deals and grow further. However, we do not have any plans to exit anytime soon.
It’s much less about how long the agency has been running and much more about the capability, ambitions and aspirations of the founder or CEO.
We’re very sympathetic to this issue and for that reason, the way we do deals is very different than many in the private equity or venture capital space. Most importantly we don’t seek to own equity (shares) in a founder’s company. Instead, we operate a dual control structure – an operating company carrying out all the billing that we own and the existing agency management company that runs the business day to day which is owned entirely by the entrepreneur. We find this prevents most of the need for expensive due diligence, shareholder agreements and bureaucracy and ensures we stay true to our slogan that we never turn an entrepreneur into an employee.
As sport continues to commercialise and the number of name, image and likeness deals for athletes explodes, agents are perfectly placed to add huge value and be paid very well as long as they are resourced and organised to meet future athlete and brand expectations. We believe this is just the start of the most successful period for intermediaries seen in the last 50 years.
You will always have direct access, 7 days a week to an experienced decision maker.
We can trace our roots in London, UK to 2005 and in 2020 we created our new HQ in Dublin, Ireland.
We live and breathe sports agencies. We’re global. We are owner managed. We act quickly. We’ve been doing this a long time.
We invite you to fix a call with us and we’ll be delighted to take you through various case studies demonstrating how we work and the pros and cons.
We are global. At the time of writing we are dealing with agents in Europe, the US and Africa & we welcome conversations with quality agencies wherever they maybe situated.
No. We’re privileged to work with some of the finest football agents in the business but we also have plenty of exposure to Olympic and individual sports such as hockey, athletics, cycling, triathlon, rugby, tennis and golf.
We make a point of introducing all our partner agencies to each other with a view to increasing cross-border deals. Our team can also connect you with many domestic and global brands seeking exposure via professional athletes.
Our agency partners all benefit from access to best in class executive education built specifically to ensure they’re prepared for exams & adapt their businesses to meet new professional standards.
Yes! We have access to the thinking, planning and creation of personal brand content for pro athletes so they can maximise their commercial status.
Yes, our deal structure hangs off a management agreement that includes mutual termination clauses if things are just not working out.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org we’d love to hear about your business and your story. We will come back to you within 1 business day and fix a call or meeting.