SBJ/20100802/This Week's News

Brody leaving MLB to head sales at WMG

After spending 11 years building an enviable roster of corporate partners for Major League Baseball, John Brody is leaving the league to help Casey Wasserman build a global sales force.

Brody starts with Wasserman Media Group at the end of the month as a principal heading up the agency’s global sales group. He will remain in New York and report directly to Wasserman.

The move positions WMG in a crowded space of selling sponsorships and inventory for properties and events, a field that includes large agencies such as IMG and CAA as well as smaller, more singularly focused companies.

“We have always thought about whether to build a diversified sales business,” Wasserman said. “Frankly, a lot of that decision came down to finding the right person.”

Initially, Brody will have about six people reporting to him, but Wasserman expects that number to increase quickly. Wasserman hired Brody to build WMG’s global sales business apart from naming rights, manage the athlete marketing business and lead WMG’s business development.

Brody

“We’re going to be aggressive,” Brody said. “We’re going to work hard, and we’re going to compete for every piece of business that we think is reflective of the Wasserman philosophy. As we look back a few years from now, we’ll be sitting in a different place from the global sales side than we do now.”

Brody has built a sterling reputation at MLB, where as senior vice president of corporate sales and marketing he has overseen a period of robust growth, even through the recession, adding clients like Holiday Inn, Scotts and Bayer. But some of MLB’s largest corporate sponsorship deals are up after this season, including ones with MasterCard, Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet and Bank of America.

MLB declined to comment on how it plans to replace Brody.

Brody said it was difficult to leave MLB, but he couldn’t pass up the chance to work with Wasserman. Both executives are members of SportsBusiness Journal’s Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame and have been friends for several years, often talking about working together.

Discussions between the two became more frequent earlier this year.

Brody joins WMG in a year when it’s projected to post record revenue. Brody said he plans to market athletes more aggressively than WMG has in the past. WMG’s athlete roster includes Pau Gasol, Chase Utley, Landon Donovan and Hanley Ramirez.

Brody also will look to add to WMG’s roster of corporate consulting clients. The agency already has deals with, among others, American Express, T-Mobile and Nationwide.

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