Now, the division of Roc Nation is strategically aiming to enter the boxing sphere, according to President and Chief of Branding and Strategy, Michael Yormark.
“There’s no question the sport of boxing needs a new player, someone who can do something different,” Yormark told ESPN.com this past weekend. “We’re energized, and we’re going to make a difference. This is a huge priority to us. This is a highly serious business to us.”
Roc Nation Sports just hired David Itskowitch — who has 18 years of boxing experience — to serve as the Chief Operating Officer of its boxing division.
“This is a serious business for us moving forward, and Dave has one of the great reputations in the boxing industry,” Yormark said. “Hiring him should be a loud and clear statement this is serious for us and that we will do this the right way. We have one of the most respected individuals in the sport leading the charge for us.”
Itskowitch told ESPN.com that the boxing division will promote its first fight by the end of the year. The division currently possesses a promoters license in both New York and Washington, D.C. Additionally, it plans to sign athletes in the very near future as well.
“We’re looking to make an immediate and dramatic impact on the sport,” Itskowitch said. “We feel we can do that, and we plan to build Roc Nation Sports into a boxing brand by leveraging Roc Nation’s current marketing, public relations and branding infrastructure. We’re going to brand Roc Nation Sports fighters, and we’re confident that branding will lead to financial opportunities both in and out of the ring that will be available nowhere else.”
Yormark and Itskowitch are hoping that Roc Nation Sports can create the same “celebrity status” with its future boxing clients as it has with players like Oklahoma City Thunder forward, Kevin Durant, and New York Giants wide receiver, Victor Cruz.
“There’s no question Roc Nation Sports can create celebrity status for boxers and align them with corporate America,” said Yormark, who was the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Panthers before joining Roc Nation. “Look at the success we’ve had with our athletes and (recording) artists (represented by parent company Roc Nation).
“That is what we do, and we do that better than anyone. We will be able to build brands for these boxers and build their careers outside of the ring. That’s the difference that Roc Nation will bring to this sport.”