by Alex Perel, special to SportsMedia Report
Endeavor has made a significant venture into synthesizing its sports and entertainment divisions with an investment in Bill Duffy’s BDA Sports Management. BDA is one of the largest boutique sports agencies, putting a focus on basketball clients, with Duffy at the helm for going on thirty years. BDA’s clients include the likes of Steve Nash and Yao Ming to Luka Doncic and RJ Barrett.
The deal furthers Endeavor’s efforts into athlete representation. For non-sports ventures, WME Sports retains a very strong client list including Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Durant and LeBron James. It also owns IMG, which focuses on sporting events, IMG Models, and a speaker division.
Taking a stake in BDA for sports ventures now allows Endeavor to merge all of these efforts. Sabrina Ionescu, for example, is a client of both WME Sports and BDA Management. She now finds all of her representation under one umbrella and can ask for collaboration between her on the court and off the court work. Duffy has been named a strategic advisor to WME Sports and will assist in this alliance.
CAA has long been in the sports space, creating an in-house division in 2006 and representing stars such as Aaron Rodgers, Dwayne Wade and Joel Embiid. UTA recently made an investment in Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports Group, which also primarily focuses on basketball clients. Klutch counts LeBron, Anthony Davis and Draymond Green as some of its biggest clients.
With the growth of athlete media, as we have been covering for the last few weeks, agencies want to place themselves in leveraged situations to provide their athletes a true full-service. That means covering their sports contracts, endorsements, and crossing into media ventures. With tremendous rosters of writers, actors, and filmmakers, agencies such as Endeavor, CAA, and UTA can pair its entertainment and sports talent in order to streamline the development process. Likewise, live and experiential branding continue to grow in new and unique ways. All are examples of the continued convergence between sports and entertainment.