Endeavor has made an investment in BDA Sports Management, a deal that will bring BDA chief Bill Duffy into the WME Sports fold as a strategic advisor, Sportico’s sister publication Variety reports.
Duffy will remain chairman-CEO of BDA and continue to run the company that specializes in representing active and retired basketball players. Duffy is a notable figure in the sports world as the of the few longstanding black owners of a sizable talent rep firm. BDA’s current roster of clients includes such boldface hoops players as Luka Dončić, RJ Barrett, Goran Dragić, Rajon Rondo, Myles Turner, Nikola Vucevic, Sabrina Ionescu and NBA Hall of Famers Yao Ming and Steve Nash.
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. A source close to the situation described it as a “significant” investment from Endeavor.
“Bill is a universally respected, principled leader and client advocate, and I am personally honored to be in business with him,” said Mark Shapiro, president of Endeavor. “This partnership reflects years of mutual respect and collaboration, and our shared commitment to building a holistic, best-in-class sports agency for the top athletes and sports executives in the world.”
The Endeavor-BDA pact comes on the same day that sports marketing and management agency Excel Sports Management unveiled an investment from Shamrock Capital. The investment activity in firms with deep ties to talent is another sign that representatives see great potential for sports stars to work successfully off the field or court to build all manner of businesses and commercial partnerships. The ability for A-list players to attract tens of millions of followers on social media gives athletes and other celebrities a lucrative platform to reach consumers.
Founded more than 30 years ago, BDA has offices in Walnut Creek, Calif., as well as in Santa Monica and Redondo Beach. Duffy is known for his early focus on expanding the profile of NBA stars beyond the U.S. into global markets, which are now the growth engines for the league.
“Bill is not only one of the top agents in the world, he’s also a leading voice in sports business,” said Karen Brodkin, co-head of WME Sports.
Duffy played basketball in college and was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1982.
“WME Sports and the broader Endeavor network are by far the best entertainment, media and marketing group in the business,” Duffy said. “I have always known the immense importance of providing the highest level of service and innovation to our clients, and this alliance allows for just that. Through the relationships I’ve built with Mark, Karen and the broader WME Sports team, I’ve seen first-hand that our ideals align and I’m excited for the growth and opportunities ahead for our business and our clients.”
WME Sports’ current roster of clients includes stars from a range of sports: Serena Williams, David Beckham, Novak Djokovic, Kevin Durant, Sabrina Ionescu, Lebron James, Naomi Osaka, Alex Rodriguez, DeAndre Hopkins, Christian McCaffrey, David Ortiz, Joe Burrow and Tim Tebow. Endeavor is heavily invested in sports and event production and management through its IMG unit, which has pared back its athlete representation activity over the years.
Sports consulting firm Game Plan repped BDA Sports Management in the deal.