IMG has struck a deal with competitor William Morris Endeavor, which has agreed to buy the sports agency giant for a reported $2.3 billion.
By comparison, the most valuable franchise in US sports, the Yankees, are worth $2.3 billion, according to Forbes.
IMG’s marketing division represents Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton, among others. The agency doesn’t negotiate players’ contracts as much as it once did, but still counts among its clients Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams and a host of tennis and golf stars. It also is the largest independent producer of sports programming in the world and has licensing, marketing and ticketing contracts with the majority of the BCS conference schools.
WME, meanwhile, has yet to be a major player in sports but already does market for Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Serena Williams and Kevin Garnett.
However, agency boss Ari Emanuel has been on the wrong end of two big decisions: He orchestrated LeBron James’ "Decision" announcement, which the former Cavs star was villified for, and signed Tim Tebow in 2012 before the Heisman winner dropped out of the NFL.