SBJ/March 28-April 3, 2011/Labor and Agents

U.K. athlete rep firm expands into U.S. with Rule 1.02 purchase

U.K. athlete representation firm International Sports Management is expanding into the U.S. with the acquisition of Rule 1.02 Marketing, a New Jersey marketing consultancy which is being rebranded as ISM USA and will move to Manhattan offices later this year.

ISM was founded in 1989 by Chubby Chandler, a former golfer on the European Tour. It currently represents close to 50 athletes, including golfers Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy and five of the top 30 golfers in the world. It also managed tournaments, including the British Masters golf tournament, and represents top cricket and soccer players.

ISM has offices in London, New Delhi and Johannesburg.

“We don’t manage any American players, so clearly there is opportunity there, because we have a lot of credibility in golf,” Chandler said. “Managing events and servicing some of [the relationship] for the big corporate [sponsors] should be another big area. And consulting is something [Rule 1.02] does well that we haven’t done at all.”

STEVE ECKERSALL
ISM founder Chandler is flanked by top investor McMahon (right) and Bechtel, ISM USA president.
Shane McMahon, a member of the WWE’s founding family, took an interest in ISM last year that made him the firm’s largest investor. McMahon sees opportunity in many areas in the U.S. for ISM, including marketing, promotion and consulting. McMahon said that while the agency was built through its golf representation, ISM will look to represent NFL, MLB and NBA athletes.

“Chubby is the energy that has made ISM what it is. But beyond that, he has built a great name and business that could expand to more places and do more things in sports by creating a property business and not one that’s just limited to the U.S.,” McMahon said.

Rule 1.02 was founded by former Integrated Sports International marketer Eric Bechtel in 2001. The firm has worked with clients including 24 Hour Fitness, Ask.com, American Family Insurance, Burger King, Heineken and Bellator Fighting Championships. More recently, it has worked with a number of technology firms as they look to expand within the sports industry, including Chegg.com, Conviva, Demand Media and XOS Digital.

Bechtel becomes president of ISM USA.

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