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BDA Sports Management Raises The Bar For Athlete Partnerships

In the athlete representation world, figuring out unique endorsement and partnership opportunities for your clients is what sets you apart from the competition. Although there is always going to be debate as to whether or not athletes need agents to negotiate their playing contracts, it is hard to argue the importance and expertise of agents and their teams when it comes to sponsorship opportunities.

The latest example of this comes from BDA Sports Management and their unique activations for Phoenix Suns rookie Deandre Ayton, Chicago Bulls emerging star Zach LaVine and Orlando Magic center Nicola Vucevic In an article for Front Office Sports, Bailey Knecht took a look at the agency’s work in creating off-the-court opportunities for their clients.

On the surface, connecting brands to high-profile athletes seems like a fairly easy process, right? What brand wouldn’t want the exposure that a professional athlete provides? However, finding unique opportunities that benefit both the brand and the athlete requires a lot of work, especially so the partnership does not seem forced. For example, with Ayton, the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the BDA team sought out a partnership with Spotify because of his love for music. The Bahamas-native loves Caribbean-inspired beats that remind him of home, so the BDA team wanted to find an opportunity for him to share this passion. The result: an opportunity for the Suns rookie to become the first individual athlete with a #GameDay playlist on Spotify.

With LaVine, who is getting back to his high-flying playing style with the Chicago Bulls after various injuries, BDA wanted to incorporate his off-court interests in a unique partnership as well. Ever since his high school days, LaVine had an interest in American Sign Language. Early on in his NBA career, with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he worked with Metro Deaf School in St. Paul, MN, and even donated $10,000 to the school after winning the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Now in Chicago, LaVine and BDA looked to continue his involvement with the deaf community. Not to be outdone with their creativity, LaVine and BDA partnered with Starbucks in a social campaign after the company announced the opening of a signing/American Sign Language location in Washington, DC.

How is BDA able to connect their clients with these unique opportunities? They place an emphasis on building trust with their clients.According to BDA Marketing and PR Coordinator, Arielle Moyal, “You want the ability to present unique opportunities and know the client is willing to take that leap because we have their best interests at heart.” Trust is important when working with athletes, especially for those who prefer to keep their off-court lives more private.

Orlando Magic big man and Switzerland-native Nikola Vucevic is passionate about the environment. While he typically prefers to stay out of the public eye when off-the-court, the trust he has in the BDA team provided him the opportunity to appear on the animated TV show “Planet Blue.” Without this trust, this activation would have never been possible.

Professional athletes partnering with brands is nothing new. The best partnerships seem to be a natural fit between the parties, but far too often these opportunities seem forced. Thanks to the folks at BDA Sports, their forward, outside the box thinking connects their clients with brands and companies that they are interested in, which results in unique partnerships that set the precedent for future opportunities.