SBD/May 16, 2013/People and Pop Culture

10 Years Later: Remembering Late IMG Founder Mark McCormack

McCormack's clients included Golf HOFers Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer
IMG Founder MARK MCCORMACK died ten years ago today, and THE DAILY looks back at how he was remembered in the days after his death. The N.Y. TIMES' Frank Litsky wrote, "Before Mr. McCormack, athletes who made appearances and television commercials were customarily rewarded with watches or supplies of products or small amounts of money. Starting with the golfer ARNOLD PALMER, McCormack changed that. ... Palmer, his first full-time client, saw his annual income of $50,000 rise to $500,000 within three years and eventually to more than $10 million." The Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER's Susan Vinella wrote, "McCormack's belief that professional athletes should be generously paid as product pitchmen revolutionized the advertising industry." The BOSTON GLOBE's Jim McCabe wrote, "McCormack opened doors, started marketing trends, and made it fashionable to turn sports into big business." The COLUMBUS DISPATCH's Todd Jones wrote he was the "Pied Piper who led sports into the widespread commercialization that we now sometimes loathe but also take for granted. The corporate tent, for example, was an IMG creation." Former McCormack client JACK NICKLAUS told GOLF WORLD, "He's had more impact than probably anybody in the game from a business standpoint. He made golf a business." BUTCH BUCHHOLZ, Founder & Chair of the NASDAQ-100 Open, a tennis tournament owned and operated by IMG, told the AP, "Sports today is a multimillion-dollar business, and Mark McCormack had the foresight to make that happen during his life. Athletes, franchises, television executives and sports promoters all owe a debt of thanks to Mark McCormack for his contributions to the business." SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL also offered, "Through The Years With A Pioneer." In the piece, CBS Sports Group President SEAN MCMANUS said, "I don't think it's an overstatement to say that kind of like HENRY FORD and BILL GATES, Mark McCormack literally created and fostered and led an entirely new worldwide industry. ... I never had a conversation with him where I didn't learn something new." Former NBC Sports President KEN SCHANZER: "He is the original article. He represented people with elegance and with intensity and with intelligence and with sensibility for the entire time since he created the genre."
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