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Volume 24 No. 159

Labor and Agents

Int'l Sports Management on Friday announced that golfer Rory McIlroy has "ended his association" with the firm and agent Chubby Chandler, according to Mark Garrod of the London INDEPENDENT. McIlroy had been with the company “from the time he turned professional in 2007.” Chandler in a statement said, "Onward and upwards. We have had a quite brilliant year. The company is growing and adapting to ensure it stays at the forefront of golf and the business of managing players. We wish Rory every success." McIlroy had “yet to comment either in person, in a statement or via his Twitter site.” Chandler has been “at McIlroy's side since he joined the paid ranks after winning the silver medal as leading amateur in The Open at Carnoustie four years ago.” Chandler’s current clients include Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Charl Schwartzel and Ernie Els (London INDEPENDENT, 10/21). McIlroy reportedly will join Horizon Sports Management, "whose stable includes Graeme McDowell" (London TELEGRAPH, 10/21).

STUNNING MOVE: Author John Feinstein said it was a "stunning move" for McIlroy to leave ISM and Chubby Chandler, who "he’s known since he was a kid and been close to for years." Feinstein: "Graeme McDowell is a close friend, fellow Northern Irishman -- that might have had something to do with it, but it’s still pretty stunning.” Feinstein: “All my instinct can tell me is that Rory McIlroy is at a point in his career where he feels he needs more personal attention. … All I can think is that McIlroy is saying, ‘If I move to a guy that’s got Graeme McDowell, certainly, but doesn’t have as many big names, as many irons in the fire as Chubby Chandler, maybe I get more personal attention.’ That’s always a big deal with players.” Golf Channel’s Jason Sobel said, “I wonder if he was put off a little bit by the ISM sort of Euro-centric attitude which is, look the European Tour comes first, Europe comes first and the U.S. Tour comes after that.” Golf Channel's Erik Kuselias: “It’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out, if Chubby starts adding people or losing people from the Chubby stable” ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 10/21).

Octagon has acquired Alloy Access, expanding its urban and multicultural marketing efforts and rebranding its multicultural division as Octagon Access. Alloy, Access’ holding company, reached out to Octagon when it decided to sell some of its assets. “We started talking about their Access group and it made a lot of sense strategically for us,” said Octagon Marketing Americas President Jeff Shifrin. “They tie a lot into what we do on the event side, and we just started the discussion and realized that our agencies do a lot of things the same way and it made a lot of sense for us to partner together.” Shifrin said Octagon looked at other agencies, but Access “just made sense.” “They’re marketing first, they’re strategically led,” he said. “They think a lot of the same ways that we do and that’s why Access was the one that we pulled the trigger on.” Octagon Marketing Americas Exec VP Jeff Ehrenkranz played a key role in the deal, which saw Octagon Access add the multicultural business of such clients as adidas, Allstate, Bank of America, MasterCard and The Home Depot, among others. Octagon was most drawn by Access’ efforts in urban and multicultural marketing. “We’ve always concentrated more on Hispanic-American marketing, while Access focuses more on urban and African-American marketing,” Shifrin said. “So it was really a perfect marriage between what we’ve had for the last four or five years and what Access was bringing to the table.” Shifrin added, “There are very few agencies, if any, that are in the sports and entertainment space that have groups this size and this strategic that can answer questions and provide insights and answers in the multicultural space.” Octagon Access Senior VP Tru Pettigrew, who used to head Alloy Access, will lead the division. Access was based in N.Y., making it an easy move into Octagon Access’ new SoHo office. “We had a couple different places that we had office space in New York City and now we’re just combining them all with Access being the impetus.” Shifrin said the new office opened about two weeks ago.