Wasserman, the US sports marketing and talent management agency, is set to launch its first-ever rugby division after acquiring global rugby union player agency Esportif.

Esportif, which has now rebranded to Wasserman Rugby, will continue to operate globally across the UK and Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Australia, Argentina, Italy, and Japan.

The agency’s team of over 40 executives and agents, including Ryan Constable, Craig Innes, Rhys Parsons, Duncan Sandlant, Bruce Sharrock, and Mark Spoors, will also join Wasserman.

Fahri Ecvet, chief operating officer and executive vice-president of Wasserman, said: “The launch of Wasserman Rugby is another milestone in Wasserman’s strategic global growth.

“Wasserman Rugby offers the most comprehensive service to clients in the sport, and that’s a credit to what Ryan [Constable], Craig [Innes], Rhys [Parsons], Duncan [Sandlant], Bruce [Sharrock], and Mark [Spoors], and their entire team have built over the last decade-plus.

“Their work is renowned and respected, and their approach to the sports and entertainment world matches the culture of Wasserman and will complement our other industry-leading talent representation practices.”

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Wasserman Rugby’s client roster now includes active players and coaches including Tadhg Furlong, Ellis Genge, Alun Wyn Jones, Richie Mo’unga, Gregor Townsend, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, and Taniela Tupou.

Executive vice-presidents and managing directors Constable, Innes, Parsons, Sandlant, Sharrock, and Spoors, said: “We are delighted to be expanding our rugby division by joining the team at Wasserman.

“The acquisition is huge for us and offers an exciting opening for growth in the rugby industry. It enables us to accelerate our ability to offer our clients much more of a holistic service and will strengthen our existing practices and expand our expertise to current and future clients.”

Esportif previously merged with fellow rugby union player agency Big Red Management in 2015, to become a major player in 10 markets, with offices in six countries. Following the merger, the combined entity had more international players in the then Six Nation’s squads than any other rugby agency.

Before that merger, Esportif merged with Irish rugby agency Corner Flag Management.

Wasserman, meanwhile, has ramped up its acquisitions as it looks to expand its global footprint in sport, music, and entertainment.

At the beginning of the year, Wasserman acquired New York-based sports broadcasting firm The Montag Group, which saw Sandy Montag, Maury Gostfrand, and their staff joining Wasserman.

Last year, it expanded into professional boxing after acquiring prominent European promoter Team Sauerland. The move resulted in the creation of Wasserman Boxing, which is aiming to be a leading player in the market, particularly in the UK, a leading hub for the sport.

Other acquisitions last year include UK-based soccer agency Key Sports Management, global hockey agency ACME World Sports, and Spanish soccer-focused group Top Value. 

Wasserman’s moves come on the back of a deal in which RedBird Capital Partners, the US investment firm, acquired a significant minority stake in the agency in February 2021.

It was reported that RedBird had bought between 30 and 40% of Wasserman, whose owner Casey has other prominent roles including president of the local organizing committee for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Wasserman has $6.5 billion in contracts with more than 800 clients globally in several segments of the sports industry.