Excel Sports Management, which represents golfer Tiger Woods and MLB legend Derek Jeter, is launching a new division called Excel Media. The move marks an expansion into original programming for the agency. The new content arm will also include the addition of a media talent representation practice—expanding beyond strict broadcasting representation—and branded content development.
The sports management and marketing agency will use its new division to create media opportunities for clients, doing just about every aspect outside of actual production.
“There’s more appetite for both long-form original storytelling and short form on social platforms, and there’s more access to be able to do it now,” Excel’s president and founder Jeff Schwartz said in an interview. “You’ve got so many more resources and distribution channels. We don’t want to try to create a production house, but we do want to be sellers. We want to have the right resources in-house to help develop our athletes’ stories, work with brands on content and activate through rich storytelling, drive more fans to arenas or specific sports—really just draw more attention to the different areas where we’re involved.”
Excel Media’s first projects include a pair of recently announced docuseries on two of the agency’s top clients. One, on the career of 49ers legend and NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana, was co-produced alongside NFL Films. The series was developed with NBC’s OTT streaming platform Peacock and will air this fall. The second, a Jeter docuseries, will similarly explore his Hall of Fame career and will air on ESPN in early 2022. The series is executive produced/co-produced by Excel Media, Mandalay Sports Media and Spike Lee, in cooperation with Jeter’s own media platform The Players’ Tribune.
The value add that Excel Media brings, Schwartz said, is in the already established relationship between the agency and athlete at the center of these stories, who the agency says will be increasingly involved in the process and the projects.
The agency has already and will continue to make hires for the division as its builds out a well-rounded, media-centric staff. On the representation side, the agency will try to build a more “dynamic” division equipped to represent more than just traditional broadcasters—“ex-athletes turned storytellers,” other social media influencers, and even production companies themselves.
Excel sees growth and revenue opportunities in the areas the new division will encompass.
“If you can create interesting, athlete-driven stories, there’s a whole market around that,” Schwartz said. “If you think about the actual sports themselves, whether it’s a PGA event or an NFL or NBA game, it’s going to last maybe three hours. There are 21 others hours where you can cater to people who are really interested now in what athletes have to say and what stories that they’re part of. Where that goes from a revenue perspective, I don’t know yet, but it goes beyond the money you make from it. You’re also giving your clients a way to expand their brands and extend their careers by having this new resource for them.”