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Volume 20 No. 42
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Excel’s upstart consulting practice continues to score major clients

Excel Sports Management’s consulting practice is working on projects for three clients that it signed last year: Porsche, PwC and Barstool Sports.

Excel Consulting is providing services including strategy, negotiation, activation, hospitality and execution, research and sponsorship measurement. This week, as its first assignment for new client Barstool Sports, Excel will be working on a Super Bowl party.

“We are involved with them on idea generation, securing venues, securing celebrities and, in general, creating an environment that is reflective of their brand personality,” said Joe Zajac, who heads up Excel Consulting.

For Porsche, Excel Consulting has created a proprietary series of events the luxury carmaker could own and control, the Porsche Golf Cup. “We are looking at a tremendous amount of expansion,” Zajac said. “So we ran five events in 2016, and we are planning 13 events for this year.”

For PwC, Excel Consulting is involved in research as it relates to portfolio strategy by looking at what C-level executives are personally involved with in sports and entertainment.

NBA agent Jeff Schwartz founded Excel as an athlete representation firm. MLB agent Casey Close, golf agent Mark Steinberg and athlete marketing agent Alan Zucker are partners, and although Excel does not have the biggest athlete client base, it represents a lot of superstars throughout sports.

They hired Zajac, who formerly worked at Team Epic, to grow a consulting practice from scratch. Excel has landed clients like Morgan Stanley and New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery in competitive bid processes, and Morgan Stanley, HSS and Wilson Baseball are clients in which Excel provides “end to end” consulting, Zajac said.

Emil Calcano, HSS head of global sports marketing and business development, said the company hired Excel Consulting in 2014 after an extensive RFP process to help with sports sponsorships of two dozen global properties, and extended the relationship last year.

“They have done everything for us from planning, strategy, activation, more boots on the ground when we do different activation,” Calcano said. “I don’t think you find the sophistication they operate with at any other boutique. … Even though they are smaller, they are capable of doing anything from a consulting perspective that the bigger guys can do, if not more.”

Zajac said Excel is taking its same high-end, boutique approach in athlete representation to consulting. He said the business is profitable but would not provide numbers.