SBJ/July 23-29, 2012/Labor and Agents

Rangers’ Lundqvist joins Ovechkin on IMG’s marketing roster

Liz Mullen
IMG has signed New York Rangers all-star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to an exclusive agreement to represent him off the ice in marketing, speaking and broadcasting work.

Sandy Montag, senior corporate vice president and managing director of clients, and David Abrutyn, senior vice president of global consulting, will lead the IMG team that will represent Lundqvist. He is represented by Newport Sports Management for playing contract matters.

“Henrik has got the total package, as they say in the business: good looks and good performance and is arguably playing on the world’s largest stage,” said Abrutyn, who worked for the Washington Capitals and the NHL in the 1990s. Abrutyn doesn’t usually represent athletes but made an exception in 2009, when IMG signed Capitals star Alex Ovechkin for off-the-ice representation.

Lundqvist has deals with Bauer for hockey equipment and with Upper Deck and Panini for trading cards. Additionally, he has appeared in a commercial for Procter & Gamble brand Head & Shoulders that has run in Sweden.

Abrutyn said he will spend time with Montag figuring out a plan for
Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist is a star in both his home market of New York City and his native Sweden.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES (2)
Lundqvist, but he sees fashion and luxury brands as potential future partnerships for the Rangers goalie, a three-time NHL all-star and this year’s Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s top goaltender. He also won an Olympic gold medal for his native Sweden in the 2006 Winter Olympics.

IMG has 3,000 employees in 30 countries, and those who work in IMG’s office in Stockholm, Sweden, are excited about the signing of Lundqvist, Montag said. IMG sees the potential for national deals in the United States, Canada and Sweden, as well as local endorsements and partnerships in the New York area, where he is a big star, Montag said.

Montag is a Rangers season-ticket holder and met with Lundqvist, 30, and some of Lundqvist’s advisers. “We have Ovechkin,” Montag said, “[and] we said to Henrik that he is the only other current hockey player who fits into what we do.”

IMG does not represent team sport athletes for playing contract work but does represent some of team sports’ biggest stars for commercial endeavors, including NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning and MLB all-star Joe Mauer.

Montag started his career as a broadcast agent at IMG. Despite the fact that English is not Lundqvist’s first language, Montag said, “I definitely think he has a future in broadcasting and I told him that. But he is a young guy and I don’t think broadcasting is something he is planning on soon.”

MLB AGENT JOINS EXCEL: MLB agent Bobby Barad has joined Excel Sports Management, and several players he represented at his former firm, TWC Sports Management, have also joined Excel. Those players include pitchers Lance Lynn (St. Louis) and Jerry Blevins (Oakland).

In baseball, when an agent leaves an agency and clients go along, the MLB Players Association often is involved in settling any disputes between the parties. Multiple sources said the union did get involved here, with one of the sources adding that issues between the parties were resolved. TWC, Excel and MLBPA officials declined to comment on that.

WASSERMAN SIGNS SANTANA: Wasserman Media Group veteran MLB agent Adam Katz has signed Los Angeles Angels pitcher Ervin Santana. He was represented by Proformance Baseball.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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