SBD/May 17, 2013/Labor and Agents

Rory McIlroy Leaving Horizon Sports To Form His Own Management Group

Horizon will still earn commission on McIlroy's 10-year Nike deal
Golfer Rory McIlroy is "planning to leave Horizon Sports and set up his own management company, made up of some friends, family and close confidants," according to Karl MacGinty of the IRISH INDEPENDENT. McIlroy's father, Gerry, is "expected to play a prominent role in the new operation." Rory McIlroy in October '11 "stunned golf by quitting the giant International Sports Management, run by Chubby Chandler, and joining Horizon, a Dublin firm with global ambitions." Golf circles have been "rife with speculation about McIlroy's plans to set up his own management structure." McIlroy last week at The Players said that he was "still with Horizon and firmly dismissed any further questions on the matter." MacGinty notes there had been rumors McIlroy "might team up with Tiger Woods and his long-standing business manager Mark Steinberg" or that he might join "one of the major sports agencies like Legardere, who have his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki on their books, or IMG." But those both "have been firmly dismissed by insiders." Sources said that McIlroy is "keen to follow" the set-up used by Woods and other athletes including Roger Federer and Lionel Messi "by choosing to be managed by their closest lieutenants -- family and friends" (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 5/17). The AP's Doug Ferguson notes McIlroy "appears to be following a model set up by Adam Scott, who set up his own company with a small group around him." Horizon negotiated McIlroy's 10-year, $250M deal with Nike, and the agency also "brought sponsorship deals with Bose and Omega, structured in such a way that McIlroy's apparel and golf bag were not splashed with logos." McIlroy signed a "long-term deal with Horizon Sports, which stands to earn commission from the length of the recent endorsement deals" (AP, 5/17).
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