Six Questions With Danny Fritz, CEO SportBox Entertainment Group
As CEO and co-founder of SportBox Entertainment Group, Danny Fritz leads a team of dynamic professionals who constantly challenge the current sport and entertainment landscape. Representing some of the top athletes in the category, SportBox is recognized as a leading lifestyle and entertainment firm with progressive capabilities in consulting, sponsorship, events, fashion and creative execution.
D’Bria Bradshaw: What motivated you to work in the sports agency business, and how did the process start?
Danny Fritz: I was an elite athlete growing up, playing at the highest level of hockey and golf, but wasn’t able to convert it to becoming a pro. I wanted to stay in the industry, so my first project was to help my family build a not-for-profit amateur athletic association from the ground up. As a result, I was able to identify how sport could be converted to partnerships and how to monetize assets in sport and connect them with businesses from an early age. In 2006, I was recruited by IMG to lead a country and work against their global business. That time in my career helped me really take my knowledge in sport and entertainment to the macro and global level. I was able to work in fashion, licensing and media. My experience in that area really gave me a passion for sport and entertainment. I enjoy the hunt and the chase every day.
DB: How much of your agency consists of athlete representation versus the other services you all offer?
DF: Our firm was created with an emphasis on talent management and it remains an important focus of ours. We currently operate in three business verticals: talent, events and consulting. Our team manages top talent globally and we are very pleased with where we are and where we are going with talent business unit. We represent talent in soccer, golf, Olympic athletes and entertainment personalities.”
DB:What does a typical work week look like for you as far as projects and tasks? How much travel does your business entail?
DF: My weeks change on a regular basis, but I do happen to do a lot of travelling to meet with potential business partners, clients and clients’ families. I lead a team of recruiters and talent managers. On the recruiting side, I help identify future talent that could be a good fit for our agency. On the talent management side, I help manage the entire portfolio of our athletes and personalities; their business partnerships, their schedules and their foundations. We are always looking for ways to extend athlete portfolios to create business verticals under their brands. I work closely with our business development and sales team to identify partnership opportunities for all of our clients. I also work closely with service teams such as our PR and marketing department to ensure each one of our athletes have their own unique story and that their story is being promoted in markets that are credible and authentic. I assist each team member to bring our clients the best financial, legal and brand strategy services possible.
DB: What are 3 skills that you feel aspiring sports agents should acquire if they want to be successful in the industry?
DF: When I look at what is really going to make an agent successful, to me it’s broken down into three buckets. You need to be a business developer. You need to understand how to connect an athlete to a brand and you need to know how to sell. There is a science behind it. You need to be able to know how to sell, because that is your primary job. The other skill is you have to be a marketer, not just handling the day-to-day of an athlete but being a marketer before an agent. You need to be able to market your athlete in a credible way so that the community identifies the connection with them and also corporate understands who they are as a person. The last skill is to make sure you know how to own relationships. That starts at a very young age. Making sure you are networking with the key players in the business. Whether it’s on the team side or the corporate side you need to be in the know about where brands are spending. You might not be doing business with them today, but you want to keep that relationship for the long haul because sometimes it takes four or five years to do a transaction with someone.
DB: As you have progressed in your career what has been the most rewarding part of your job?
DF: It is very rewarding to get to know a potential recruit over a period of time. You get to know their families and watch them as an amateur and then turn pro. You start building their brand and making sure you are doing it in a way that gets them started properly. You only have one chance to turn pro. Being a part of that process is very enjoyable. Helping an athlete build his initial PR and marketing story and identifying the initial brands that they partner with with. The other rewarding part of working with talent is seeing an athlete evolve. As some talent evolve, you start planning for their future after their career is over. You start to build extensions to their brand. You build a business, event or foundation around them. You look at their career long term after they have had a few years under their belt. It’s very cool to see that all come to life.
DB: In 100 words or less, please provide young sport business professional’s advice if they want to work at an agency like SportBox.
DF: It is important to get in with the right company, that is going to allow you to learn about every aspect of the business. You can’t just be an agent. You need to be a business developer, a marketer, a seller, a PR specialist. You need to learn a bit of everything in this business. You don’t necessarily need to be an expert in everything, but you need to touch enough points that you have enough knowledge in the space to jump in and add value.
To learn more about SportBox Entertainment Group, visit their website.