Some of you won’t know Brad Pelletier, but he’s arguably one of the most interesting and potentially powerful people in the Canadian golf business. Pelletier is the managing director of IMG, the massively powerful sports marketing agency and home to the likes of Mike Weir, Lorie Kane and Stephen Ames.
In January I conducted a lengthy interview with Pelletier about his transformation of IMG in Canada. The piece appeared in the Financial Post Business magazine earlier this week. Here’s a taste:
Brad Pelletier looks too unassuming to be recognized as one of the most powerful men in Canadian sports management as he nurses a beer in a nondescript downtown Toronto bar. Wearing a dress shirt, but eschewing the jacket and tie common to most people from the corporate culture, he’s the last person you’d expect to shout, “Show me the money!” the catchphrase from Jerry Maguire, the mid-’90s Tom Cruise film about ego and power in the world of sports agents. But that doesn’t mean the managing director for Canada of International Management Group (IMG), a global powerhouse in the sports agency industry, isn’t interested in talking about money. In fact, he’s got a story he’s happy to tell. “We did better in Canada last year than at any time since I joined the company,” he says, albeit in a characteristically low-key way. IMG being a private company (with total global revenue estimated at US$1 billion), Pelletier won’t divulge specific numbers about his business’s financial achievements. But no one should be surprised that it’s doing well. After all, IMG Canada represents many of this country’s top-tier athletes, including Mike Weir, the only Canadian golfer to win the Masters, and Olympic bronze medallist figure skater Jeffrey Buttle. Indeed, if there’s a wrinkle in this story, it’s that IMG’s revenue increase isn’t coming from its traditional business: athlete representation. It’s coming instead from sports event management — producing made-for-TV tournaments and marketing live shows — a focus that Pelletier has been reinvigorating at IMG Canada since taking the top job in 2005. In fact, if you’ve seen a Canadian golf tournament on TV recently, such as the revamped Telus Skins games, or watched an emerging new sport like wakeboarding or perhaps secretly bought tickets to a production of HSBC Stars on Ice, you’ve likely sampled IMG Canada’s latest wares.
The entire piece can be found here.