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Dentsu to acquire 33.3% stake in Californian sports agency

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MUMBAI: Dentsu Inc’s subsidiary Dentsu Sports will be acquiring a 33 per cent stake in sports agency Athletes First, LLC, which is headquartered in California.

Founded in 2001, Athletes First is a full-service agency, which represents National Football League (NFL) players, NFL and college coaches, professional baseball players, individual athletes in other sports, and other sports-related clients, including broadcasters, with regard to individual contract negotiations, marketing/commercial endorsements, and other client services.

The firm’s core expertise involves the representation and management of athletes and coaches associated with the NFL, a sports league, which boasts a popularity and economic scale that is unparalleled even among the four major professional sports leagues in the US. Its championship game, the Super Bowl, holds nine out of the top ten rankings for the most watched television broadcasts in the US.

Athletes First has more NFL clients than any other privately-owned representation agency including the reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, as well as several other high-profile NFL players including Clay Matthews, Carson Palmer, Earl Thomas, Von Miller and Jamaal Charles. Athletes First also represents ESPN broadcasters Steve Young, Ray Lewis, and Trent Dilfer, as well as NFL head coaches Chip Kelly and Jason Garrett.

The Dentsu Group has to date been involved in business with sales of marketing and broadcasting rights for professional sports leagues in the US, and the investment in Athletes First will enable it to expand its array of services to its client base in terms of sports marketing and related endeavors in the United States.

Going forward, Dentsu will work toward the further expansion of Athletes First’s agency business and the diversification of its sports representation, sports marketing and consulting business across the United States, and internationally as well. 

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