CAA China gathers Momentum with agency acquisition
CAA China, a division of the USA-based entertainment and sports agency, has expanded its operation in the country with the acquisition of Momentum Sports, one of China’s leading sports marketing, brand consulting and athlete representation firms.
The Momentum Sports business will be merged into CAA China, and as part of the deal Legend Capital, an investor in Momentum Sports, becomes a shareholder in CAA China.
Mark Gao, founder and chief executive of Momentum Sports, will stay involved, working closely with CAA China chief executive Mary Gu to grow the business in the country.
CAA China was established in April last year by Creative Artists Agency and CMC Capital Partners, the Chinese fund that invests in in media and entertainment, internet and mobile, and lifestyle. Gu came on board three months later, joining from Special Olympics, the organiser of multi-sport games for people with intellectual disabilities, where she was regional president and managing director for east Asia.
Gu said today: “Mark Gao and his internationally-minded management team at Momentum will join our world-class sports business, helping further our efforts in China in such high-demand areas as broadcast rights, sponsorship, IP, and operation. In this moment of remarkable opportunity in China, Momentum’s local sports insights and experience, combined with CAA’s global reach and resources, will play a key role in the continued acceleration of our growth strategy.”
Gao, the former vice-president of NBA China, formed Momentum Sports in 2016, since which time has worked with a number of domestic and international brands, including Vivo, the Chinese mobile phone manufacturer, which last year became a second-tier ‘World Cup Sponsor’ for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in Russia and Qatar, respectively, in a deal with Fifa reported to be worth €400 million ($450 million) over six years.
Gao said: “We are excited to become part of a company with such a stellar global reputation like CAA and look forward to working collaboratively with our new colleagues - both domestically and internationally – to develop new opportunities for clients in the market.”
CAA first opened an office in Beijing in 2005, and last year the agency described the China division as “a world-class media and entertainment platform” that would cover talent representation, endorsements, sports, digital media, music and original content production.
Globally, CAA represents more than 1,000 athletes in American football, baseball, basketball, golf, ice hockey, soccer, tennis, Olympics and action sports, and works in the areas of broadcast rights, corporate marketing initiatives, licensing, and sports properties for sales and sponsorship opportunities.