Top 15 Sport Talent Management Agencies to Help You Sport Your Skill

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The sports industry is huge. To give you an idea, the Portuguese professional football player Cristiano Ronaldo made an estimated $136 million in 2023, according to Forbes. He made $46 million from his playing salary while earning $90 million from endorsements and other ventures. What’s arguably even more impressive is that by far the biggest chunk of his money was made via endorsements.

Off-field opportunities, such as sports endorsements are only expected to grow. In fact, it’s predicted that the size of the global sports sponsorship market will reach nearly $90 billion by 2027. Over the last 12 months, Forbes reported that the ten highest-paid athletes collected approximately $1.11 billion, showing a significant 12% increase compared to last year’s $900 million. While brands are willing to spend loads of money on sponsorship, you’ll need more than just your natural talents to land that deal.

Effective sports marketing helps athletes build their brand, find the right sponsorships and opportunities, and advance their careers. Sports brands working with sports marketing agencies can also connect with the right athletes who fit their brand, values, and vision. Sports marketing agencies have the right partnerships for talent management. They also typically offer a wide range of services, such as professional representation, deals and endorsements, and merchandising that will help to look after players on and off the field. Whether you’re looking for an endorsement deal or need help planning your next career moves, here are 15 of the best talent agencies.


Formidable Agencies for Sport Talent

Top
sport talent management agencies
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1. Viral Nation

Viral Nation

Location: United States, Canada

Notable Sports Clients: Harlem Globetrotters, Anthony Hamilton Jr.

Year Founded: 2014

In addition to influencer marketing, Viral Nation also offers athletes and sports marketing as part of their services which include partnerships, marketing, and media for athletes and brands. The agency launched its sports division, VN Sports, in 2021, following a resolution by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to help college athletes find opportunities like brand partnerships and endorsement deals.

Brand partnerships are led by Mike Lecce, under the leadership of Viral Nation’s Jonathan Chanti (Chief Growth Officer), who has represented pro athletes, such as Alex Bregman and Jose Bautista, for over 10 years, while talent relations are overseen by Alonzo “Roxx” Thornhill, who has worked with professional athletes and celebrities like Drake and Stephen Curry. Whether you’re currently only an amateur or already an Olympian, their exclusive roster has sports stars with actively engaged followers on all social media platforms.

Key services include:

  • Professional representation
  • Full-service production
  • Legal and compliance
  • Events
  • Publicity
  • Deals and endorsements
  • Content creation and licensing
  • Merchandising
  • Memorabilia

2. NeoReach

NeoReach

Location: San Francisco, California

Notable Sports Clients: DraftKings, FIFA World Cup 2022

Year Founded: 2014

NeoReach Agency is an influencer marketing software trusted by Fortune 500 companies. It features a rich pool of influencers across social platforms in just about every niche. For sports brands and personalities aspiring to expand their reach and engage more audiences, NeoReach Agency is an excellent choice.

On NeoReach, brands and athletes can make the most of endorsement deals by connecting with established influencers in the sports niche. For instance, by partnering with top influencers, NeoReach helped sports betting operator DraftKings achieve a 1.83x ROI. NeoReach also helped spark interest in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and showcase Doha’s capability to host a huge sporting event. Its campaign generated a total reach of 10 million and a total engagement of 127,000.

The platform enables users to review the data and performance of more than 5 million influencers. No matter which niche—football, hockey, or fishing—NeoReach has a superstar influencer to advertise and promote your brand.

Key services include:

  • Paid media advertising
  • Influencer marketing logistics
  • Marketing campaign optimization
  • Experiential influencer campaign activations

3. Moburst

Moburst

Location: Tel Aviv, Israel, with offices in New York, San Francisco, and London

Notable Sports Clients: Titanbet

Year Founded: 2013

With a number of offices across the globe, Moburst is one of the leading names in marketing, specifically influencer marketing. They’ve worked with a number of leading brands including Samsung, Discovery, Reddit, and Uber. In addition to having gained the trust of leading brands, they’ve also built strong relationships with talent from all over the world.

Their army of creators helps brands to create authentic content that their target audiences can truly connect with. In addition to sharing content on their own channels, their talent pool will also create content that will get posted directly on the channel of the brand. Moburst worked with sports betting app Titanbet to improve its App Store performance. The campaign resulted in a 60% improvement in the app’s average daily organic download rate.

Key services include:

  • Marketing strategy
  • Creative and content
  • Media buying
  • Digital transformation

4. Creative Artists Agency (CAA)

Creative Artists Agency (CAA)

Location: Los Angeles, California, with offices across the US and in London, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, Munich, and Geneva

Notable Sports Clients: JJ Watt and Reebok, PokerStars: Breakfast with Dwyane Wade and Cristiano Ronaldo, Derrick Henry and Nissan Heisman House

Year Founded: 1975

Founded in 1975, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) is one of the oldest sport talent management agencies. In fact, according to their website, they were the first talent agency to create a sports business.

They help to create infinite first-class opportunities for athletes, coaches, teams, leagues, and thousands of other leading trendsetters who help to shape pop culture. One thing that deserves special mention is their collaborative approach. All their clients are represented by the entire agency. This makes it easier for sport talent to build their brand and career across various platforms and disciplines.

Inclusion is also at the heart of how they operate. Not only do they improve the diversity of their own talent roster and team members, but they also advocate with marketplace buyers for sports talent from historically underrepresented groups. In 2022, Forbes reported that the agency brought in athlete contracts worth approximately $14.01 billion in playing contracts and $3.76 billion in non-playing deals like sponsorships. This brings CAA’s total athlete contracts to approximately $17.8 billion. Furthermore, CAA’s Sports Endorsements include working with big names like Dwyane Wade and Cristiano Ronaldo for PokerStars: Breakfast and football star Derrick Henry for a Nissan Heisman House commercial.

Key services include:

  • Draft preparation
  • Contract negotiation
  • Endorsements
  • Broadcasting
  • Philanthropy

5. WME Agency

WME Agency

Location: Beverly Hills, California, with offices in Nashville, New York, London, and Sydney

Notable Sports Clients: Anthony Edwards, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Scottie Barnes

Year Founded: 1898

WME is the longest running talent agency and was founded in, wait for it, 1898. It all started as William Morris Agency (WMA) in New York City. Not only do they have many years of experience to show, but their client list also includes some of the biggest names in showbiz including Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley.

In 2009, William Morris Agency merged with Endeavor and expanded their focus to entertainment and media companies to include artists and content creators too. Then, 2014 was another big year for them. On top of being named as one of the 50 most innovative companies by Fast Company, they also acquired IMG, a top international name in sports and entertainment.

With regards to sport specifically, they work with some of the leading athletes, institutions, broadcasters, and personalities. Most recently, they signed Sergio Perez who will be joining Lewis Hamilton on their F1 roster. They also recently signed NBA All-Star Anthony Edwards. Meanwhile, the agency’s basketball lineup includes Luka Dončić, Chet Holmgren, and Kelsey Plum. WME also represents several sports personalities exclusively off-court, including Jimmy Butler and Candace Parker.

Key services include:

  • Strategic partnership
  • Marketing

6. Octagon

Octagon

Location: Los Angeles, CA, with offices across the US and 17 countries

Notable Sports Clients: Liverpool F.C., Josh Giddey, Stephen Curry, Bianca Andreescu, Kolton Miller, Tristan Wirfs

Year Founded: 1983

Octagon has been helping some of the globe’s top brands and talents for the past 30 years. Their team of 1,000 employees works from all over the world and they have helped professional athletes in a number of talent divisions including baseball, basketball, hockey, and tennis. Aside from professional athletes, Octagon also represent coaches and sports executives, as well as Olympians.

Not only do they help stars to get their name out there, but they also help them to manage their wealth. Whether it’s simply budgeting, planning for tax or investment and retirement advice, they partner with some of the top financial resources. They also help with career transitioning. So, they can help you to plan the next move that will make the most sense for your career.

Key services include:

  • Wealth management
  • Career development and advancement
  • Talent and influencer marketing

7. Wasserman

Wasserman

Location: Los Angeles, California

Notable Sports Clients: Giancarlo Stanton, Nolan Arenado, Matt Olson

Year Founded: 2002

Wasserman (formerly called Wasserman Media Group) is one of the leading sports marketing and talent management companies. They represent some of the top athletes, broadcasters, coaches, influencers, and sports execs. Since they were founded in 1998, they’ve acquired a number of sports agencies including Arn Tellem and SFX. Most recently, they acquired The Montag Group, one of the leading media agencies in the industry.

Wasserman’s sports divisions cover a variety of sports, ranging from action and adventure sports to rugby. For instance, its baseball division represents 94 all-star players and four Hall of Famers. Its historic baseball contracts include the largest in American history (at the time of signing), Giancarlo Stanton’s 13-year contract worth $325 million in 2014.

Key services include:

  • Public relations
  • Career management
  • Event creation
  • Contract negotiations
  • Creative content design
  • Off-season training
  • Brand marketing
  • Social media influencer strategy
  • Digital strategy
  • Performance analytics research

8. Newport Sports Management Inc.

Newport Sports Management Inc.

Location: Mississauga, Ontario, with offices across Canada and the US

Notable Sports Clients: Anthony Cirelli, Rasmus Dahlin, Phillip Danault, Kevin Fiala, Tomas Hertl

Year Founded: 1981

If you’re specifically searching for a sport talent management agency for professional hockey athletes, you can check out Newport Sports Management Inc. Founded in 1981 by Donald E. Meehan, they manage the single biggest agency in hockey and have over 125 National Hockey League clients. Not only do they offer a full scope of services relating to the more technical aspects, but they also include a few marketing services.

Key services include:

  • Contract negotiation
  • Financial management
  • Tax and estate planning
  • Insurance
  • Training and development
  • Draft preparation
  • Social media brand building
  • Corporate and public appearances
  • Endorsements

9. Independent Sports and Entertainment (ISE)

Independent Sports and Entertainment (ISE)

Location: Los Angeles, California, with offices in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Atlanta

Notable Sports Clients: Miguel Cabrera, Reggie Bullock, Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson

Year Founded: 2012

Independent Sports and Entertainment (previously called Relativity Sports) is one of the top representation, management, and marketing agencies for baseball, basketball and football players as well as motorsport talent. In the last five years alone, they’ve negotiated more than $1 billion in contracts. Its basketball arm, ISE Basketball, has a European presence that helps its clients find new international opportunities. Meanwhile, ISE Football, its football division, also includes former professional athletes as agents. According to Forbes, ISE was the agency behind Miguel Cabrera’s record deal with the Detroit Tigers. The eight-year contract is worth $248 million.

They offer a full suite of services that include contract negotiation, marketing, and brand management. As they’re part of a network of companies that also include live events and venues, they can help sport talent to develop their name via a number of platforms.

With regards to their marketing services specifically, they can help you to develop your brand identity, create content and then market it via social media. If you prefer to stick to in-person events, they can also help with speaking engagements.

Key services include:

  • Endorsement opportunities
  • Public relations
  • Community outreach
  • Memorabilia and trading card deals
  • Draft preparation
  • Post-career management
  • Sponsorship maximization
  • Content creation

10. Excel Sports Management

Excel Sports Management

Location: New York City, with offices in Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, and London

Notable Sports Clients: Tiger Woods, Nashville Soccer Club, Cade Cunningham, George Springer

Year Founded: 2002

Founded in 2002, Excel Sports Management’s mission is quite simple – they want to help their clients reach their full potential via sport. They do this by using a forward-thinking approach and by being entrepreneurial by design. With regards to their Talent Representation division specifically, they focus on building personal brands and generating revenue via marketing partnerships.

Though, like many of the other agencies on our list, it’s not just about generating more wealth for their own talent. They also believe that it’s important to give back to the community and help their talent to do just that. For example, they helped Didi Gregorius, a professional Dutch baseball player, to create a social campaign, #DIDIsDEEDs, to help him get more fan votes for the MLB All-star Final Vote contest. From posing for selfies with tourists to buying midtown office workers lunch, the campaign managed to highlight his low-key profile.

Another community that they work hard to elevate is female athletes. Their Women’s Sport division helps to level and expand the playing field by helping them to create individualized brand strategies.

Some of their notable projects include Gatorade’s The Secret to Victory campaign, “Chicago Cubs Break the Curse”—referring to the Cubs’ 2016 World Series win and breaking “The Curse of the Billy Goat,” and Kevin Love’s Banana Republic collection.

Key services include:

  • Talent marketing
  • Consulting
  • Corporate partnerships

11. Athletes First

Athletes First

Location: Laguna Hills, California, with satellite offices in New York, Gainesville, Austin, and Atlanta

Notable Sports Clients: Dak Prescott, John Lynch, Darwin James

Year Founded: 2001

For talent management help for football specifically, be sure to check out Athletes First. Their team of football agents, which includes big industry names like Todd France, David Mulugheta, and Brian Murphy, have negotiated the biggest deal in NFL history not once, but seven times. On top of that, they’ve negotiated many other record-breaking positional contracts too. It has also partnered with Proactive Sports Performance to help bring exclusive pre-draft experiences to its athletes. Elite NFL players train at Proactive during the off-season, which boasts a 4:1 player-to-trainer ratio.

Founded more than two decades ago in 2001, they’re a full-service management firm that has represented elite coaches, broadcasters, and players.

There are two main components that are foundational to their culture. These are to display strong power, yet stay intimately personal. Not only is it key that their talent remains personal, but also their own agency. So, their player-to-agent ratio is capped at 12 to 1.

Key services include:

  • Marketing
  • Pre-draft training

12. Gestifute

Gestifute

Location: Porto, Portugal, Lisbon, Portugal, and Dublin, Ireland

Notable Sports Clients: Darwin Núñez, Manuel Ugarte, Bernardo Silva

Year Founded: 1996

Gestifute is another talent agency that focuses on football. Founded in 1996, they have offices in Portugal and aim to discover and promote young football talent.

Gestifute is led by Jorge Mendes. Not only has his successes been recognized by Globe Soccer and Football Finance, but also by the Portuguese government. Between 2010 and 2020, he has won a number of awards. In fact, during this 10-year period, 2016 was the only year that he wasn’t voted the Best Agent in the World by Globe Soccer.

He has also played a role in a number of the biggest transfers in the world. Most recently, it was revealed that Darwin Nunez, who’s valued at about £60 million has left agent Edgardo Lasalvia and it’s expected that he’ll join Jorge Mendes at Gestifute. The agency represents some of the world’s top football players, managing multi-year contracts of up to €80 million.

Key services include:

  • Career planning

13. ICM Stellar Sports

ICM Stellar Sports

Location: London, with offices across Europe, the US, and South Korea

Notable Sports Clients: Gareth Bale, Jameis Winston, Xavier McKinney

Year Founded: 2020

While they were only born in 2020, ICM Stellar Sports is already regarded as one of the largest sports agencies across the world. In addition to football (they’ve struck some of the largest contracts in soccer), they’re also one of the leading talent management agencies for eSports, NFL, rugby, golf, and cricket too.

They’re also part of ICM Partners, one of the top talent agencies that focus on representing content creators, artists, authors and other types of creatives. Before Stellar Group’s acquisition by ICM Partners, the agency represented over 800 athletes, including Tottenham Hotspurs’ Gareth Bale, New Orleans Saints’ Jameis Winston, and New York Giants’ Xavier McKinney. In 2020, the agency had contracts worth approximately $3 billion.

Key services include:

  • Post-career planning
  • Commercial, media, and sponsorship opportunities
  • Contract advice and negotiation
  • Legal services
  • Social media management
  • Taxation

14. Roc Nation Sports

Roc Nation Sports

Location: New York, Los Angeles, and London

Notable Sports Clients: Romelu Lukaku, Antonio Anderson, Andrew Brody, Robinson Cano, Skylar Diggins-Smith

Year Founded: 2008

Founded in 2008 by JAY-Z, Roc Nation is one of the leading entertainment companies in the world. Most recently, they’ve joined TIME Studios to produce a documentary that looks at the life of Megan Thee Stallion, the artist behind one of the top TikTok songs responsible for one of the ultimate dance challenges.

With regards to sport specifically, they represent a wide range of sports that include baseball, basketball, cricket, football (including international football), rugby, and netball. In addition to sport stars, they also represent a number of personalities that include coaches, commentators, and motivational speakers.

Recently, Roc Nation Sports acquired TFM, a Brazilian soccer agency whose lineup includes Vinicius Junior and Gabriel Martinelli. Furthermore, Roc Nation Sports International is number 7 on Forbes’ list of the most valuable sports agencies in the US, with an estimated $2.01 billion in playing contracts under management and $570 million in non-playing contracts. The agency also landed Yoenis Cespedes in 2014, who previously signed a four-year contract worth $36 million while he was with Wasserman.

Key services include:

  • Endorsement deals
  • Marketing
  • Community Outreach
  • Brand strategy
  • Media Relations 

15. Boras Corporation

Boras Corporation

Location: Newport Beach, California

Notable Sports Clients: Bryce Harper, Corey Seager, Gerrit Cole

Year Founded: 1980

Boras Corporation is one of the biggest names in baseball. Founded by Scott Boras, the most powerful agent in baseball, Forbes recently revealed that the Boras Corporation represents seven of the sport’s 10 highest-paid players. What’s more, during the shortened off-season they also negotiated more than $1 billion in new contracts, setting a new record for a single agency. Most recently, he negotiated a three-year contract for Carlos Correa. That deal alone is reported to exceed $105 million.

According to Forbes, the agency has over $3.8 billion in active MLB contracts as of 2022. Boras has also negotiated several sizeable contracts, including a $330 million deal for Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies) and Corey Seager’s (Texas Rangers) $325 million deal.

Key services include:

  • Contract negotiations
  • Representation
  • Memorabilia
  • Marketing
  • Endorsements

Services Offered by Leading Sporting Talent Agencies: A Comprehensive Guide

Sporting talent agencies offer an array of services that are designed to help advance their clients’ careers on and off the field. These include:

Key Services from Leading Sports Agencies

Professional Representation

Sporting talent agencies handle contract negotiations for their clients with entities like professional sports leagues and brands. These agencies ensure that the contracts align with relevant laws and regulations. They also handle disputes between players or brands that their clients endorse. They can also work with coaches and trainers to ensure that their clients’ performance remains optimal.


Legal and Compliance Services

Agents can serve as the go-between for clients and the entities they’re working with. They help ensure that negotiations or contracts meet all relevant guidelines.


Deals and Endorsements

Agencies can help their clients identify and secure relevant sporting deals and brand endorsements alongside other business opportunities that they are interested in.


Merchandising and Memorabilia

Sporting agencies may also provide merchandising and memorabilia services, helping clients develop and launch branded merchandise.


Marketing

Sports agencies also handle marketing campaigns for their clients. Their scope of work may include event creation, planning and management, publicity, audience engagement, and brand development.


Talent Scouting

Sports agents also act as talent scouts. They travel to different locations, including schools, to find emerging sports talent. Depending on the scope of their services, some agencies may also offer social media management services for their talent.

In addition to these core services, sporting talent agencies may offer networking opportunities, career development or transition strategies, post-career planning, and wealth management services.


Wrapping Things Up

If you want to be successful on the sports field, you need to realize that it’s a team sport. Even if you’re participating in a solo event like singles tennis matches, there’s a whole team behind the athlete.

One of these team members that often go unnoticed is the agent. Not only can sport talent management agencies help pro players to land the best contracts, but they also work tirelessly off the field and behind the screen to sign endorsements and launch marketing campaigns. Plus considering that pro athletes’ careers are actually quite short-lived, these agencies have a key role to play in making sure that they also make the right moves off the field.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sports management agency?

A sport management agency handles contract negotiations, client endorsement deals, and more. In addition, sport management agencies are in charge of recruiting new talent and management marketing and promotions.

What do sports marketing agencies do?

Sports marketing agencies offer a wide array of services to their clients. One of their main functions is to represent athletes in contract negotiations. Other services include promoting their clients, providing consulting services, and working with brands that want to leverage sports for their marketing efforts.

What is the best sports marketing agency?

One of the best and oldest sports marketing agencies is Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Other notable sports marketing agencies include Viral Nation, WME Agency, Octagon, Wasserman, and Excel Sports Management.

What are the three types of sports marketing?

  • Marketing of Sports: This type promotes sports, events, and organizations or teams and is considered to have a direct connection to sports. 
  • Marketing Through Sports: This refers to promoting products or services using popular sports and athletes.
  • Grassroots Sports Marketing: This refers to promoting sports and making it more appealing to encourage an audience to participate in.

Who is the biggest sports marketing company in America?

Creative Artists Agency is the biggest sports marketing company in the USA. It represents over 2,000 of the world’s top athletes in various sports and has consistently been recognized by Forbes as the Most Valuable Sports Agency. Forbes also estimates that the agency manages over $14 billion in active playing contracts and $3.8 billion in non-playing contracts.

About the Author
Koba Molenaar brings nearly a decade of rich experience in content writing, specializing in digital marketing, branding, SaaS, and eCommerce. Her passion for helping brands, from solopreneurs to established companies, connect with their audiences shines through her work. As a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Koba’s commitment to excellence is evident in her work, showcasing her as a relatable and knowledgeable voice in the industry.