Wasserman Media Group Among Biggest In World, With IMG Questions Looming
One question has hovered over Wasserman Media Group CEO CASEY WASSERMAN forever: "Would he ever be the power hitter" that his grandfather, studio boss LEW WASSERMAN, was in business, civic affairs and politics?, according to Brooks Barnes of the N.Y. TIMES. It is "no longer a question." Founded 11 years ago, Wasserman Media Group, a $150M business, is "now one of the largest sports agencies in the world," negotiating TV and endorsement deals and handling naming rights for billion-dollar complexes. Nike, Pepsi and Microsoft are corporate clients, and individual clients include NBA player DERRICK ROSE and NFL player ANDREW LUCK. Incoming NBA Commissioner ADAM SILVER said, "There’s a sense of permanence about Casey." Former L.A. Mayor ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA said, "I only see him growing in stature, and he’s already one of the most civically active philanthropists in the city." NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL said, "His influence extends far beyond what you see on the surface." Sports "was a very specific choice" for Wasserman. He said that Hollywood "felt too incestuous." He said it was a place where he knew he could never “make a reputation” that was his own. Wasserman said, "I wasn’t the kid who cried if my team lost. I was the kid who wanted to know what was going on in the front office after the game." He started Wasserman Media in '02 and "began assembling a client base." He was "early to spot the potential of action sports," and that division of his firm has grown from an $800,000 annual business a decade ago to $16M now. Wasserman "also learned how to wield a checkbook." His company "has made at least 10 significant acquisitions over the last decade." Now, "a big decision looms" for Wasserman -- one that he will "surely be asked about at Allen & Company’s annual media and technology jamboree," which begins on Tuesday in Sun Valley, Idaho. IMG Worldwide "is on the block." Will "Wasserman bid?" Wasserman "declined to comment about IMG." He has "privately told confidants, however, that he may be interested in pieces of that company" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/6).