David Artzi is an athlete brand/marketing manager and Founder of DA Athlete Marketing. The Tucson, AZ-native and University of Arizona alum created his company while pursuing a Master’s degree after interning with different sports agencies. DA Athlete Marketing helps its 30+ NFL/NBA clients build their brands both on-and-off the field of play. We were fortunate enough to speak with David about how he got his start and about DA Athlete Marketing. Check it out below.
SAB: How did you get the inspiration to create DA Athlete Marketing?
DA: Right after I graduated from college, I spent a little while in Houston interning at a large agency. After the internship ended I decided to head back home to Arizona and pursue my Master’s degree, but I was still actively looking for a full-time gig. I thought to myself, “Why can’t I use some of the connections I have now to help out with athlete branding and still be in school?” I thought it would be a good way of building a portfolio for myself while making even more connections with athletes and agents.
What was the process of getting your first client?
I would say the first full-on marketing client I got was Jairus Wright. I think the power of social media direct messaging is under-appreciated. I direct messaged him on Instagram with a short message and a small plan. Sending out hundreds of messages is not the trick, but rather targeting a few players that you think you could help is the way that worked for me. From there, we were in contact and made a plan of attack together for his marketing while still in Minneapolis. I owe a lot to him for also teaching me some things from a player’s perspective – not many players are like him.
Tell us a little about your background – how you got started in the athlete marketing world and sports industry in general.
I knew I always wanted to be around athletes from a business perspective (NFL/NBA) since I was in middle school. From a young age, my world has always revolved around football. I grew up watching LaDanian Tomlinson and Michael Vick. During undergrad at Arizona, I decided to intern at an agency in Indianapolis instead of going abroad my junior year. I just really wanted some type of experience or head start. From there, I knew that the athlete representation/branding side of the industry was something I wanted to get more into. I just tried taking as much in as possible (something I still do today as I always need to learn more). I interned at a larger agency in Houston and then was contacted by Landon Betsworth and Brandon Taylor over at Athletes Trust as soon as I was about to leave Houston and head home [to Arizona]. I really appreciate those guys because they helped to spark my opportunity to work with NFL players for marketing projects. As I continued to learn more about the industry, I started to venture and start my own small gig while continuing to help the Athlete’s Trust.
How does your day-to-day business differ from that of an agent?
For me, no two days are exactly the same. I always have a routine but the actual tasks for each day always differ. For one, I am not dealing with the player contract side of the business, which can be stressful but very rewarding in the end. Agents are also constantly on-the-go recruiting talent. I’m focused primarily on helping these players build their brands on-and-off the field, so I would say there is definitely some overlap, but I am all-in with the marketing side.
Do you work with agents to handle the marketing for their clients?
Primarily, yes. I wear many different hats, but primarily I am in contact with agents who are looking for some assistance with out-sourcing marketing tasks. These tasks can range from athlete appearances, product placement/endorsements, media relations and various management tasks. Some larger multi-sport agencies, like one I am working with now, need attention specifically with their football clients. That is where I come in with getting their clients products, endorsements, etc. I really like having the flexibility of working with many different agents and have built some great relationships so far. I also recently started working with a couple NBA players and am excited to tap into that side of the industry as well.
What is the athlete-acquisition process like for you?
It really depends. A lot of it is word-of-mouth when players will tell teammates about a certain product they got and then I will get a message asking for that product. From there, a new relationship forms naturally from word in the locker room. That really helps me. It also could be from reaching out to an agent about one player and naturally over time, he will have a few more players get involved. Word-of-mouth in this business is everything, so I always do my best to even do the small things right. I still have a lot to learn, but so far it has been valuable for me.