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Volume 20 No. 45
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Kuliga merges company into Vanguard Sports

NFL agent Kristen Kuliga has merged her company, K Sports & Entertainment, into Vanguard Sports Group, the NFL practice founded by Joby Branion.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, but both Branion and Kuliga described the deal as more of a merger than an acquisition.

K Sports will be folded into Vanguard, which Branion formed in 2014 after working for more than 10 years at big NFL firm Athletes First. Kuliga will become director of business development.

Kuliga is known for representing former quarterback Doug Flutie and negotiating his $33 million deal with the San Diego Chargers in 2001. What isn’t as well-known is that she has quietly developed a marketing, consulting and event management business for corporate clients.

K Sports corporate clients include the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and its athlete ambassador program, as well as a private equity firm, an emerging beverage and snack company, and several golf tournaments that Kuliga declined to identify. The services provided to those organizations include project-based marketing, event management, corporate hospitality and other business development services. K Sports employee Katharine “Kat” White, who led that agency’s event management, will also join Vanguard.

Kuliga has continued to represent Flutie after his playing career, managing his relationships with NBC Sports, Instaflex and Eastern Bank, as well as other business endeavors.

She also represents about 10 NFL clients, including Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle T.Y. McGill, New York Jets punter Ross Martin and Jylan Ware, an Alabama State offensive tackle who was drafted in the seventh round this year by the Oakland Raiders.

Vanguard represents about 25 NFL players, including Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller.

The two have known each other for more than 15 years, and Branion said he has been impressed by Kuliga’s work. ”It’s especially impressive how she has built her agency from the ground up and built up her reputation in the business,” he said. “Her reputation across the business is of being a tireless worker. Her productivity is pretty substantial.”

Kuliga’s focus will be on business development for corporate clients, but she will continue to represent NFL players.

Kuliga said she and Branion have been talking about a potential business combination for about 10 months. “For me it gives me an opportunity for a platform to help me do what I am doing and helping them in what they are doing,” Kuliga said.