Ari (Fleischer, not Gold) teams with IMG
Interesting tidbit in today’s Sports Business Daily (subscription required) mentions that former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer (pictured) is joining IMG to form “a joint venture to provide media training, image management and crisis management for athletes, coaches, and team and league executives.” Ari Fleischer Sports Communications (AFSC) will be a “response to an increasingly competitive sports news environment,” according to Fleischer, who will serve as its President alongside COO and IMG Senior Corporate VP Sandy Montag.
AFSC will target individual athletes, sports team owners, team and league executives, coaches and other high-profile people who work in sports. “If someone has an issue they are wondering how to handle, they can seek advice when the dam has burst and the water is flowing and they are in trouble, or prior to it, so the dam never bursts,” commented Fleischer, who certainly has more experience in handling ‘burst dams’ (or bursting them himself; see Valerie Plame) than most. Said Montag: “We will offer [our services] to everyone inside and outside of IMG. We will operate it as a separate company.”
Is Fleischer’s AFSC filling a niche market? Hasn’t ‘crisis control’ long been a part of an agent’s, or more specifically, a publicist’s job already? And even if AFSC will allegedly be run ‘separately’ from IMG, how many services for non-IMG clients will it truly be performing? Will outside agents and managers really entrust the handling of their clients’ woes to the management superpower when it could mean losing them entirely?