Octagon (sports agency)
|Type||Subsidiary of Interpublic Group|
|Founded||Washington, D.C., United States (1982)|
|Headquarters||Tysons Corner, Virginia (USA)|
In 1970 Donald Dell, Frank Craighill, Lee Fentress and Ray Benton founded the Washington, D.C. law firm, Dell, Craighill, Fentress & Benton, one of the first sports law and sports management firms in the world. Dell's friendships made through his U.S. Davis Cup captainship allowed him and his University of Virginia law school friend Craighill, and partners, to begin their sports agent careers with clients such as Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith. Dell was also instrumental in the founding of the Association of Tennis Professionals and is considered one of the fathers of sports marketing and the sports agent business.
The firm enjoyed great success during the formation of the ATP and would become ProServ in 1976. As ProServ evolved, difficulties between partners arose and in 1982, Craighill, Fentress, and W. Dean Smith left to found Advantage International. Craighill became Managing Director and the firm rose to become an industry rival of fellow full service agency IMG in the 90's. Craighill came to realize that Advantage's historical 20% growth rate since its founding would not be sustainable in the long run, due to the increasing complexity and competition in the athlete representation industry, without the addition of greater capital and resources. This led to the sale of Advantage and its leadership including President, Phil de Picciotto, Mickey Lawler, and Jeff Austin to Interpublic Group. In 1997, Interpublic group successfully completed the merger of Advantage and other agencies to form Octagon.
In 1970 Sir Frank Lowe was the head of the advertising agency Collett Dickenson Pearce (CDP). In 1979 Lowe arranged sponsorship of the Queen's Club Championships which became known as the Stella Artois tournament, an arrangement that lasted almost 30 years.
After leaving CDP in 1981 to form his own agency, Lowe Howard-Spink, which eventually became Lowe & Partners Worldwide, he sold his agency to one of the world's largest advertising and marketing communications groups, Interpublic Group (IPG) and joined the board of the US Giant. In 1997, Sir Lowe convinced the IPG board to build the first "marketing-led sports agency." To do this, IPG bought a group of sports agencies which included APA and Advantage International.
The two divisions which make up Octagon are Athletes and Personalities, and Marketing. With Athletes and Personalities primarily broken down into sport divisions and Marketing division primarily handling corporate sponsorship and event management.
In June 2008, Octagon was awarded top sports agency honors by Sports Business Journal and was named the inaugural Sports Agency of the Year and President, Phil de Picciotto, was named amongst the 50 most influential in sports list. Then, in October of the same year, Octagon acquired a large portion of sports management firm CSMG, including their baseball, coaches, broadcast, legends and marketing divisions, and added CSMG founder Alan Nero and 20 other staff. The following February, Octagon Digital launched a sports content aggregator for Twitter posts named Twackle.
Octagon currently operates with over 800 employees around the globe, with an equal number of athlete and personality clients, and manages upwards of 13,400 events per year. Octagon representation divisions include Personality and Property Marketing, Baseball, Basketball, digital, entertainment, Financial Services, First Call, Football, Football (Soccer), Global Events, Hockey, Olympics & Action Sports, Speakers and Tennis.
Current clients include athletes Michael Phelps, Bruce Bruce, Justin Tuck, Stephen Curry, Rudy Gay, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Miller, Jeanette Lee and Felix Hernandez, and personalities including Bill Cowher, Brian Billick, Herm Edwards, Curt Menefee, and Emmitt Smith. Full lists of clients by sport are available online for some sports; NBA, NFL, Soccer, Tennis, and Olympics and Action Sports, as well as Speakers.
- "Octagon Worldwide". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
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- [(http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1136857/2/index.htm) "Sports Illustrated, 1990"]. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Davis. The business of sports agents. University of Pennsylvania Press. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- [(http://www.octagon.com/who_we_are/leadership/) "Octagon Executive Biographies"]. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- [(http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=24093) "Octagon Announces Unification"]. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Frank Lowe". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "The Independent". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Sports Business Awards". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "The 50 most influential list".
- "Octagon to acquire CSMG biz". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Octagon + Twitter = Twackle". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Octagon: About Us". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Octagon Athletes & Personalities". Retrieved 11 July 2011.