Why Peyton Manning is key to today's big corporate merger

Peyton Manning

There's been a big development in the worlds of sports and entertainment. The Hollywood talent agency William Morris Endeavor is buying the sports marketing firm IMG Worldwide, which represents star athletes and even fashion models.  

Once upon a time, William Morris Endeavor made good, steady money representing mega-stars. But that pot of money is shrinking, according to Ben Sturner, CEO and founder of the Leverage Agency.

"It’s diversify or die for William Morris," he says.

While Hollywood stars’ paychecks are shrinking, Sturner says, top athletes still command top dollar. So now, if one of IMG’s sports stars wants to become a movie star -- it’ll be one stop shopping. Plus, Sturner adds, “There’s a book publishing division of William Morris Endeavor, and that helps as well.”

So, William Morris Endeavor could produce a coffee table book for, say, Peyton Manning. Paul Swangard, who teaches sports marketing at the University of Oregon, says he sees more synergies.

"And maybe it’s entertainment events that now add a sports or fashion component, or a sport event that adds entertainment," he says.

And we’re likely to see more sports-entertainment mergers, according to Jack Myers, chairman of Myers Biz net.  

"Companies coming together because there’s so much new competition bubbling up from Silicon Valley and elsewhere," he says.

According to Myers, the big, established Hollywood names realize they have to change, or be shouldered off center stage by the likes of Amazon and Netflix. 

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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