HomeSportsIrish sports marketing agency Sport Endorse targets potentially highly lucrative US college...

Irish sports marketing agency Sport Endorse targets potentially highly lucrative US college athlete base


Related stories


Recent US rule change means college athletes are now allowed profit from their name, image and likeness

The platform already has 5,500 athletes and 1,500 brands signed up in Ireland and the UK as well as farther afield.

The agency represents up-and-coming athletes as well as established sports stars including Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw and Spanish tennis star Carlos Alcaraz.

Spanish tennis star Carlos Alcaraz, above, during last year’s Wimbledon final win against Novak Djokovic, is one of the athletes on its books

The Dublin-based firm – co-founded by former Setanta Ireland commercial director Trevor Twamley and the former head of CMC Markets in Ireland Declan Bourke – built the platform, which links athletes with brands. It is now set to open a New York office.

Brands pay a €50 monthly subscription to access the platform.

“Our platform allows brands big and small to post ambassador-type jobs to American Footballers, Olympians, Gaelic footballers or any other discipline they want,” said Twamley, CEO of the company.

A change in the rules for 500,000 US college athletes by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which regulates a range of student sports, now allows athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness.

That means college athletes can monetise social media engagement and seek brand endorsement, sponsorship as well as offers of work such as speaking engagements and public appearances on behalf of brands.

Twamley said this was a major factor in prompting Sports Endorse to look to the US.

Robbie Henshaw, above, in action for Ireland in 2017, is represented by the agency. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Twamley told the Sunday Independent the firm had carried out studies in conjunction with a US market expert that suggested there was potential for a $100m (€94m) gross revenue business and exponential growth model.

He said the firm was in the process of raising $1.5m in funding, allowing it to set up offices in both New York and Frankfurt.

“We built our platform during Covid and very quickly we found that athletes from all over the world were signing on to use it.

“So we can monetise anyone anywhere in the world.

“Even this morning, an Australian gold medallist signed on to the platform. But the changes with US college athletes has really opened up a big opportunity for us,” said Twamley.

The technology side of the Sports Endorse platform – developed for the firm by a Ukrainian company – was robust and extremely scalable, he added.

“We have had an amazing start to 2024. Last year was a record year but in the first quarter, we have already done 90pc so we are on track to quadruple revenue”.

Declan Bourke and Trevor Twamley, co-founders of Sport Endorse. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Twamley believes the next generation of young athletes is much savvier about monetising their image and social media following.

“Of course, brands still want their Tom Bradys and their Robbie Henshaws and their Carlos Alcarazes but they are also very interested in connecting at a more local level with others,” said Twamley.

“The 5pc of really elite athletes have always had no problem getting the cream but the other 95pc have struggled.

“But that is changing. For athletes below elite levels, our platform opens opportunities that may have been previously inaccessible.

“It allows those with even modest social media followings to gain exposure and income from brand partnerships,” he said.​

- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories