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WME parent company Endeavor, led by president Mark Shapiro, has made a strategic investment in BDA Sports Management that will see basketball agent Bill Duffy become a strategic advisor to WME Sports.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Hollywood agency is understood to have made a “meaningful” investment in the Black-owned sports agency. And Duffy will continue overseeing BDA Sports, a company he founded more than 30 years ago, as chairman and CEO, while advising WME Sports’ basketball representation practice.
“WME Sports and the broader Endeavor network are by far the best entertainment, media and marketing group in the business. I have always known the immense importance of providing the highest level of service and innovation to our clients, and this alliance allows for just that,” Duffy said in a statement.
The move to expand WME Sports’ basketball business follows the Hollywood talent agency hiring NFL agents Ben Renzin and Brian Ayrault away from CAA Sports to bolster its football representation business. Duffy’s BDA clients in the NBA and pro basketball include Luka Doncic, R.J. Barrett, Goran Dragic, Rajon Rondo, Myles Turner, Nikola Vucevic, Sabrina Ionescu and Hall of Fame icons Yao Ming and Steve Nash.
WME has helped build businesses for sports icons like Serena Williams, Michael Strahan, LeBron James, Naomi Osaka and Kobe Bryant beyond their fields of play with brand deals and equity stakes. As Hollywood talent agencies push beyond representation in traditional film and TV, WME is expanding efforts to boost its presence in sports, fashion, gaming and other entertainment forums.
“Bill is a universally respected, principled leader and client advocate, and I am personally honored to be in business with him,” said Mark Shapiro, president of Endeavor, in a statement.
Game Plan LLC advised BDA Sports Management on the deal.
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