Wasserman, the sports marketing and representation giant based out of Los Angeles, is no stranger to expanding through acquisition. In 2007, Wasserman bolstered its consulting and property capabilities by purchasing North Carolina-based OnSport. In 2011, Wasserman bought London-based media rights manager and advisory firm Reel Enterprises. Also in 2011, the media conglomerate purchased SFX Golf to expand its golf talent roster. Now, according to Sky Sports, Wasserman has acquired Key Sports Management as it looks to build out its soccer division in the UK.
The London-based Key Sports has more than 90 clients on its books, including Premier League stars Jamie Vardy, Theo Walcott, Tyrone Mings and Phil Jones, who will all now be represented under the Wasserman banner. Wasserman strengthened its already far-reaching influence in English soccer. The client list prior to this acquisition was impressive and featured the likes of Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley, and John Stones.
Casey Wasserman, company chairman and CEO told Sky Sports News: “Key [Sports Management] has done an incredible job within the English football market. Their impressive client list is testament to the hard work Steve Denos, Warwick Horton, John Morris and Tom Soden have done and will significantly add to our portfolio. “The addition of Key to Wasserman’s football agency strengthens Wasserman’s position in the global industry as the company continues to build out their leading football business.”
“We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of Key Sports and we are very excited to join forces with them,” Wasserman’s chief operating officer Fahri Ecvet told Sky Sports News. “The business they have built is exemplary, and we look forward to welcoming them to our team. This acquisition is a major step forward our company.”
Wasserman has now put themselves at the forefront of the leading agencies in global football. The competition is steep, led by founder and chairman of Stellar Group Limited, Jonathan Barnett. Barnett is one of the most successful agents of all time and has excelled in multiple sports, including boxing and cricket, but has really made a name for himself in footballing circles. He was the man behind Gareth Bale’s headline-grabbing £86 million move from Spurs to Real Madrid in 2013. Additional competition has come from American agencies. Last July, CAA Sports bought the London-headquartered Base Soccer agency, which represents 300 international soccer players, coaches and managers globally, including the Premier League’s Kyle Walker, Danny Rose and Dele Alli. Roc Nation Sports has also made a splash in global football with notable clients on its roster including Belgian stars Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel, and Romelu Lukaku.
According to Sky Sports News negotiations between Wasserman and Key Sports Management spanned several months and ended with a “multi-million pound deal.” Steve Denos, co-owner of Key, reflected: “Supporting our clients has always been our top priority. As part of Wasserman, we will now have access to a global wealth of services and opportunities for our clients and we look forward to doing great work together.”