David Spencer is the CEO and co-founder of Talent Resources Sports a full-service agency offering marketing and creative strategy development with a leading edge in the world of entertainment and professional sports. David sits down with Chris Snyder to discuss the business of sports marketing and the value of building a tight-knit network of connections.
This episode is sponsored by Juhll. They are a full service digital marketing consultancy that has over 20 years of experience helping your business grow sales online. They've helped most of their clients grow more than 50% year over year by helping them meet their digital marketing goals.
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"Sports is a language that transcends all audiences and all borders." - David Spencer, Talent Resources Sports
Chris Snyder [00:00:35] Hello, everyone, Chris Snyder here, host of the Snyders Showdown, president at Juhll Agency, and founder of FinTech Startup Banks dot com. On this show, we take a no B.S. approach to business success and failure told through the stories of the top executives who have lived them. Join us today as we get the unfiltered backstories behind successful brands. Just a quick message from our sponsor, Juhll is a full-service digital consultancy, and we focus on helping executives solve their toughest digital growth problems while working as an extension of the executive team. To learn more, go to Juhll dot com. That's Juhll.com. Or you can email me directly. It's Chris at Juhll dot com. Okay. Without further ado, I'd like to introduce David Spencer. He is the CEO and co-founder of Talent Resources Sports. Talent Resources provides full service, marketing, and creative strategy development with a leading edge in the world of entertainment. David leads all athlete-driven initiatives with a focus on endorsement deals in international campaigns. David is here to share how COVID-19, has had an impact on the sports and entertainment industries. Of course, we're all going to talk about business stuff as well. Thank you and welcome, David.
David Spencer [00:02:07] Thank you for having me.
Chris Snyder [00:02:08] Absolutely, David. I love to kick the show off with people learning a little bit more about your upbringing, where you grew up, and how you got to where you are today. Can you share that with us, please?
David Spencer [00:02:19] Absolutely. So I grew up in New York and Manhattan. I was fortunate enough to go to great schools growing up in the city of people traditionally in New York. When you're going to a private school or really investing where a parent is investing in their education, they're not necessarily buying the education you're getting on a day to day, which is incredible. But you're really buying a network of people that you're going to school with. So I was fortunate enough to go to school as a number of business leaders offspring. And I really understood the value of building a network in school. And I was able to develop my network through school, through college and subsequently. But it always really learned through my elementary school in New York. And I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by some great people and also educated by incredible teachers. Yeah. Yeah. I also continued what I had the option to go to school in Atlanta, Georgia, at Emory. I decided to stay in New York knowing that I wanted to work in finance and to work, have the ability to work while I was at school and work in the summers. So there wasn't a better place than New York to do that, even though I really wasn't stepping out of my comfort zone. It has it had its positives and straw backs in that I was I didn't have a traditional collegiate experience where you're going and hanging out on a quad again. I developed more networking by being in New York, going out at night. Some of the great some of the people that I met were really interesting people, a lot of sports personalities, a lot of athletes, a lot of leaders in business and some just regular, you know, nightclub people. But again, it was just more involvement of building my network, which to this day is incredible, probably my most important asset and my important, most important tool for succeeding in the work I do.
Chris Snyder [00:04:23] David, I got to ask you a question, man. I've been in New York a hundred times at least. You grew up there, but like, I don't see any kids in that city literally see no kids in that city. Where in the hell are all the kids? Where did you guys grow up?
David Spencer [00:04:39] I see everybody is, I mean, like everybody is sort of locked up in their house. Obviously, New York is like this very deciduous type of temperature, deciduous type of climates. So you've got very clear seasons. I know. I heard that, you know, you've got the life down in Hermosa Beach. So, you know, it's a very, very different type of lifestyle. But, you know, people go to the park. I went to school where I drove 30 minutes away. So it was really sports-oriented. So it was really more like, instead of a building, it was a collegiate type of campus, but for high school. So I was, you know, sports were a big part of my life, playing tennis and basketball, playing baseball. And I had a little bit of an atypical upbringing in New York. But traditionally, you know, it's just a different type of cultivation. People in New York, in my opinion. Did you grow up a lot faster? And I don't want to use the word sophisticated, but you learn quick. You get smart quick because the competitive nature of New York is so high. But then again, you sacrifice the traditional upbringing of being outside riding bikes and messing around outside. But if I had to do it again, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. And I love New York.
Chris Snyder [00:06:04] Yeah, it's the city that never sleeps, it's also the financial capital of the world and it's also, in my opinion, one of the greatest cities on the planet. So let me ask you a question. You grew up as an athlete. Why don't you give us a couple lessons? Because you've come full circle and you're running a business that involves a lot of athletes, also entertainment, marketing. There's a lot of components to this. If you had to take a step back and look at how you grew up in New York City and being an athlete, what are some of the things, some of the tools that you were given as an athlete to get you in a situation or put you in the position where you are today? What were the most important lessons you learned?
David Spencer [00:06:50] That's a great question. I think there's a there's a moral and a lesson from both the sports component and from growing up in New York and New York is where people sort of go when they're at the pinnacle of their career. And what you learn is a sense of competition and being Thurow and having a purpose. But the biggest by far lesson I learned is a sense of competition. Again, like I said, I went to Riverdale Country School, which was really competitive high school. And from an academic standpoint and from a sports standpoint, it was cutthroat. And it really prepared me for life in college at NYU Stern School of Business and subsequently working in finance and then working where I am working with David Blaine, which we can get into later, and then working, you know, running a company for the past 10 years. But really under promising over-delivering, being competitive, and really putting your money where your mouth is.
Chris Snyder [00:08:01] So you grow up in one of the most competitive macro environments in the world. You've got some great schools, some great contacts. It feels like you're on a track to be a finance guy. A Wall Street guy. Right. I was just watching Margin call the other the other night, and they were talking about the, you know, the credit default swaps and the crisis and all this stuff. But so did you want to be a finance guy or what path did you take after having all these connections and in doing what you did?
David Spencer [00:08:43] Well, I think my parents sort of instilled in me a more of a traditional path, a professional perhaps path in life. A lot of my family are doctors or working professionals in the law fields. So it was either almost like one of those. Things that, like a lot of New York families instill in their kids, it's like going to a doctor, you're going to be a lawyer. Which one is? So because I had a good prowess in math and really that was something that interests me, then the natural progression was to follow in that footstep as opposed to science sort of continuation. So I, I was lucky enough to be admitted to NYU, to undergrad business school there, and I moved downtown to Greenwich Village. I was fortunate enough to not be in the dorm my whole first year. I was screwing around, literally going out every night. But retroactively I saw the importance and I understand the importance of being able to have, learning to network. So in the end, it worked out. But I followed the traditional path in math. I focused I continued my studies at NYU with a focus in finance and then subsequently marketing. And then throughout school, I got a job working at Credit Suisse First Boston as an intern and then subsequently working there full time. And the investment banking division and I went to work every day and I hated it. I woke up. It was like empty suits. Guys I was into interacting with. That had really, like, no diversity in terms of personality. Like it was a street. It was a very robotic existence working in that type of field. And, you know, at the same time, I continued networking and growing my database of contacts, which are really at the time, I really you know, I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know that I was continuing to like the importance of building this database. I didn't realize it. And I had met an interesting personality who at the time was in the personality working at a bar mitzvah, who was a magician. He was a guy we just stayed in touch with. And he continued to hone his craft and perfect his craft. And we always bounce business ideas off of each other. He came to me for my advice, probably because I was a layman outside of the realm of magic. And he wanted to get, you know, sort of probably a new and fresh perspective on what he was doing. And we just continued to informally bounce ideas off of each other. And, you know, that conversation and that friendship and professional relationship evolved. And I was blessed with the opportunity to be afforded an offer from him to help manage his career and produces television shows. That person has energy. Before was David Blaine, who is one of the greatest magicians in our generation. A very unique character. And I went to my parents who had invested time resources in me going and following that traditional trajectory, working in finance. And I told them that I had quit my job and I was going to go work for David Blaine. I did that under sort of a false pretense because I didn't know how severe their reaction was that day. So I did tell them less than transparently that I did quit the job and that I want to go work for David. And their reaction wasn't that bad. It wasn't as bad as I thought. And they're very concerned, very concerned about what exactly I was going to be doing. I was going to generate income. And in that moment, I figured I'd learned to trust my instinct. And that's something that from that moment to this day that I continued to do is trust my instinct in my personal life and my professional life with really every aspect of what I do. And then based on their reaction, I went back to Credit Suisse First Boston and just told them goodbye. It was a great five-year run and it really honed me in a lot of different ways. A little a lot of different aspects of my career in terms of setting me up from an organizational sort of structure and learning how to deal with people, different types of people, people in the more corporate world. And then David and I went to went on to go do great things. One of the milestones that happens was key. We were filming or we were in preproduction for one of the TV shows, which was Frozen in Time. That was when he was frozen in a block of ice in Times Square for three days. And a lot of what we did was prerecorded magic with different celebrities, people on the street, people from all walks of life. But when we filmed with different celebrities, I started realizing how impactful they could be with their reactions, their messaging and how they helped sell the TV show. So he wanted to get the New York Yankees on this show. There was a plan in place to have I think it was Derek Jeter at the time and some of the other notable Yankees and being a New York basketball fan, I was like, well, wait a second. The Knicks were, you know, something very integral part of my life at the time. They still are even now about even though how bad they are. But they're stars. They were an integral part of my life. And I suggested doing a day of shooting with the Knicks. And it was an either or proposition. So it was going to be the Yankees or the Knicks. But by volunteering the Knicks, it would mean that we would have to sacrifice the Yankees. So he was like, listen, we can go on the Knicks. But I'm going to have to make a bet or there's going to have to be some compensation back for the production if you don't get the Knicks because our shoot day for the sports aspect of the show is tomorrow. So I had literally under the gun 20 hours or 24 hours to get the Knicks on the show. And again, I went back through my network of all the people I knew to try to make this happen. And literally the next day, we're up at the Knicks practice facility in Terrytown, shooting with Latrell Sprewell, Allan Houston, who had just signed the biggest contract in the NBA at the time, Glen Rice, John Starks. Like all of these great people that I looked up to growing up as a kid, and there I was sitting at the practice facility with David Blaine, doing magic to them. And something clicked. Another thing in me clicked. And I was like, wow. Like I under. There's an incredible value with these athletes and sort of engaging with them off the traditional sense of a court or field. And I knew that there was something there. Also, things were happening in the digital world at that moment. So Facebook was evolving. Twitter was evolving. You had shows like The Basketball Wives. So like athletes were becoming more mainstream. They were becoming more pop culture sensation. So people that were not part of the sports world necessarily knew who these athletes, whereas personalities. So it was really interesting. It was a really lucky time. And at that moment, I continued to work with David and sort of side hustle. A lot of athletes from the Knicks and finding them, the commercial offered to find help find the commercial opportunities outside of basketball. So that meant, you know, fielding opportunities or creating opportunities for guys like Latrelle or Charles Oakley or John Starks. And while still working with David and at heart, I've always been an entrepreneur and I've always tried to figure out, you know, follow my passions, even though for those moments working in finance, that wasn't really my passion. But sometimes you have to go through things that you don't like and to understand the things that you do like. And again, it was just about following instincts and following my God, trusting my God. And flash forward to where we are now. I'm running a company that really is at the intersection of sports and entertainment. And I've been blessed to have a partner who really is incredible at what he does. And we're very aligned in terms of building up, continuing to build our network. So he really focuses more so on the reality stars and the big celebrities that we work with. And I say my core competency of sports. So our company really is at the intersection between sports and entertainment and consumer brands. So various brands ranging in size ones that are just evolving and developing to the Amazons and Mercedes Benz is and the Budweisers of the world come to us for our recommendation on how they should engage with these personalities. And that can be something as very straightforward, which is now straightforward. It didn't use to be but a product placement opportunity on Instagram. So when you see a car dashing in or you see a LeBron James posting with a product, that's when a brand leverages the relationship equity and the network and social equity that a personality has and taps into their network to advance their marketing initiatives. Another thing that we also really focus on is building platforms for media companies, along with media companies like Sports Illustrated, who's our multi-year partner. So we built an incredible platform for them at Super Bowl, where under the Sports Illustrated umbrella. We're able to provide this platform for consumer brands that may, may or may not be official with the NFL, but want to have a seat at the Super Bowl table and leverage the power of celebrities. So this past year, we took over the Fountain Blue Hotel and then didn't vouch for 5000 people the night before the Super Bowl with the Black Eyed Peas, marshmallow, the baby, and some incredible acts. And we got an incredible, incredible brand, partners involved with that. So we do a lot of that driven marketing throughout the year and typically at the Super Bowl and at these culturally-charged moments like NBA All-Star, the Espy's. And that's sort of another moment where another. Example of where we can bring a brand to pop culture with an emphasis on sports. And then again, we also do traditional types of endorsement deals that either live in traditional senses of media, whether they be billboards or in newspapers. But now the direction has really been going to digital marketing. So last year is a deal that we continued to evolve with. Amazon is really identifying and pairing them with celebrities and influencers to help raise awareness for the things that they're doing. And new business streams that they're trying to develop.
Chris Snyder [00:20:27] This is really interesting because I grew up my whole life. I was I've been in athletics as well. And there's a certain I can only imagine what it is in pro sports, but college sports, big college sports, and pro sports. You're you're walking up to someone who in most cases is, you know, 6'2", 6'3", 6'10", some cases, you know, Shaquille O'Neal's size 7' tall. How the hell do you get them to do any of this? There's gotta be I mean, I know money talks, but these guys have a lot of money. Why are they? This is gonna be a really hard thing to balance how you get in here. You build that relationship. You're in a pack of wolves. Like, tell us about that a little bit.
David Spencer [00:21:19] Well, if you hit a good point on there, because a lot of the people that have been very meaningful and impactful, networks that aren't celebs, aren't athletes, are people that let's say are in the reality world that are looking for these types of opportunities to subsidize their income. So when you're speaking about a professional athlete, that's really not the case because they're being paid incredible sums of money that are guaranteed sums of money. And this becomes more of an afterthought. The difference is, is when you fought the sweet spot is when you find the athlete that wants to be bigger than his sport and that wants to have an identity outside of what he's doing on the court or on the field and wants to be aligned with a product or with a particular brand. And those are the guys that see that type of picture and that they want to be marketable and want to have a cross-pollination of audiences outside of sports to cops, to mainstream pop culture. Those are the ones that that's when you sort of created a special sauce. And yes, there are guys that like a Kawhi Leonard in the NBA who is very focused on his basketball, who is not really a marketing guy. He's very soft-spoken. He's got a couple of deals, one major deal with New Balance. But aside from that, he really keeps his head down and still sticks to what he does on the court. But then you have other people that are equally as talented, in some cases not as easily as talented, but do want to be exposed to the marketing world. And for them, it's a way to either, like I mentioned, have more visibility off the court, but also set themselves up for life outside of basketball or outside of football and create sort of their second chapter, their second act in life. So a lot of athletes now have are becoming a lot more savvy. And it used to be where the athlete wanted to be the rapper. Right. And the rapper wanted to be the athlete. In this day and age. What we're finding is that the rapper I'm sorry that the athlete wants to be the Jeff Bezos or the athlete wants to be the Bill Gates. And they're looking at those business leaders that we have in life as role models. And a lot of the athletes that we've been fortunate enough to work with also contribute a philanthropic effort to the things that they do. When it comes to branding, when it comes to marketing, marketing, other products. So that's also a big motivating factor for athletes. And again, social media has completely changed the game because it's given the athlete their own platform and their voice to speak directly to their audience. And in the end, the brands that we work with, all they want to do is connect and engage with a potential audience that's going to buy their proud products. And it's about aligning with an athlete that has a like-minded view on that product, or that showcases a sense of exceptionalism and professionalism that a brand wants to align with.
Chris Snyder [00:24:30] Is this a distraction for an athlete? That's. I'll play devil's advocate a little bit here, because, you know, you sit in the armchair quarterback, the guy goes out, throws six interceptions and, you know, does whatever. And then you're like, well, I'm glad he went to, you know, for photoshoots last week or whatever. I don't know what your comments are on that. But, you know, I, I feel there are people there.
David Spencer [00:24:57] I completely understand what you're saying. And there are people that may argue, I'm not one of them, but they may argue that in Odell Beckham as that case. So he is somebody who's over-performed while he was on a New York team and the New York team is not an easy team. It's not an easy market to play and you have a scrutinizing media. But from a marketing standpoint, he may be one that people would argue that sort of has gotten blinded by the lights. Right. So he's now in a different situation where he's in a smaller market and is doing his own thing. But you can also there are a lot of players that have done incredibly well on the court. And not to say Odell hasn't. But there are players like LeBron and Steph Curry, who we both we've been fortunate to work with both of them who are able to handle their business, both on the court and off the court.
Chris Snyder [00:25:51] Those guys are pros. So those guys are there as they are.
David Spencer [00:25:54] And they are. They've set the benchmark extremely high and they've set a good example for their fellow colleagues and their peers and those in basketball. And, you know, again, there's...it really depends on the character of the person and how strong-willed they are.
Chris Snyder [00:26:12] Yeah. Help me sort this out in my mind, because for years I've been saying so when people when athletes do stupid shit off the court, I go, you're not hurting anyone but yourself. Probably ninety-five guys for every hundred don't make that kind of money. But when they're fucking up, these guys just not understanding the unit economics and the value that they could have off the court with someone like yourself.
David Spencer [00:26:37] Listen, there are guys that are irresponsible, but they're very responsible and on the court. And, you know, sometimes they reach levels of irresponsibility and disrespect for themselves and disrespect for the game, disrespect for other people who rely on them off the court. But in this day and age, more than any time, the athlete has really become an influencer and has become so important not only to their core competency as basketball as they always have been, but now they're really understanding that that basketball's a real business and it lends itself to other avenues of revenue creation. Off the court with when it comes to their marketability and marketing other products. So that's why we sort of find ourselves now. And it's really a unique situation. You had mentioned a lot of guys who are guys who do want to get involved in the marketing component of sports and some guys who stay away from it. We're finding a really interesting time now with COVID that guys are sitting around, guys who previously have not wanted to touch marketing and now are really sort of taking another look and reevaluating that decision and saying, hey, listen, I've got that. I know that I've got a strong social following. I know that I can make I can move the needle for a particular brand. You know, let's have a discussion about it. So, you know, COVID, as I'm sure you're sort of sick of talking about it, but everybody's sort of sick of hearing about it. But, you know, the whole business of sports is really interesting how that's developed and the direction that we're going is with in sports during covered and how that's going to how things are going to continue to develop and that this is a historical moment. This has never happened before. You know, there are thousands and thousands of jobs outside of the fifteen players on an NBA roster that rely on the economic - the economy and the economics of what's going on. They're obviously spectators and fans who are extremely, you know, sitting extremely bored, sitting at home and have a thirst for this type of entertainment. And it'll be very, really interesting to see what happens and how these leagues end up coming to resolutions with their players and their respective sponsors and and and brand partners and how this continues, how this gets resolved. But for us, these brands who traditionally have advertised within an arena. Brands that we haven't worked with before are coming to us for solutions and looking to us on how to reconnect with their audience, the audience that they're losing by not having a presence at these, you know, in us and in an arena or stadium because nobody's attending it.
Chris Snyder [00:29:42] Well, that's how they all get paid. And I got to tell you, man, truthfully, David, if I have to watch another fuckin Netflix, whatever series, mini-series or five to hear about, I just you need to. I don't watch a lot of TV to begin with, but when I do, I watch sports. It's almost exclusively. And I don't even care what kind of sport it is. I just need to watch some competition. So why don't you tell us what you've been hearing about. Like the the the the business impact, when we're gonna get back to plan, what does the league say and what are the players saying? Give us a little bit of insight. I know that's a lot there. Maybe give us a little bit of what the leagues are saying. Maybe pick a couple. Give us a little bit. Yeah. I mean, like.
David Spencer [00:30:32] I think that just even the sports networks have lost over a billion based on my research and lost over a billion dollars from March 12th, March 13th, when the NBA was called off to early May come in, lost revenue and advertising teams are traditionally making about 50 percent of their money from fans attendance and the other 50 percent from sponsorship and broadcast deals. So like I touched on before, it's the 15 players or the 30 players on a team. It's beyond that. You have the concessioners. You have the people that work in the arenas or the stadiums. You have the valet guys outside. It touches so many sort of levels of economic levels of people that. It's devastating and it's a catastrophic loss. When it is for it's going to get back, I think two things need to happen before. Sports, as we know them, come back. And that means sports where they're attended by fans. And we have a repetitive regular season. The first thing that needs to happen is, is that each of these leagues needs to access tens of thousands of coded tests. And they need to when I say they need to to to responsibly. They need to responsibly access them, which means they have to secure these tests where they're not being taken away from civilians and impacting healthcare workers. So they have to be. Attainable, reasonably attainable. So once that happens, which would mean daily testing of players, daily testing of support staff, daily testing by coaches. What will happen? There needs to be a solid plan in place. Excuse me for an outcome when a player tests positive. Right. So the Lakers, who are at the forefront of the NBA. What happens if one of their star players gets covered? Does the rest of the league stop? Or does every, I mean, and does everybody wait another two weeks? People can argue that that would be an unfair advantage to the rest of the field.
Chris Snyder [00:32:50] Yeah, I agree.
David Spencer [00:32:51] The other teams that don't have that. So this whole protocol and plan really needs to get in place. The German Vonda's League is starting their league. That is going to be fabulous. On May 15th. So I think the world will look at that and see how that is being handled. There's also a South Korean baseball league that has, I think, six or eight teams, that has been continuing to play. And a lot of the people that are real diehard sports fans are following that really closely. Also, a lot of gamblers follow that really close. There's no other sport to watch. But, you know, there's also a very they're differentiating opinions on. I can speak, you know, a little bit more so to the NBA. But like you have teams that like the Denver Nuggets and the Cleveland Cavs and I think the Trailblazers who are very proactive in getting their players back in the jam on a rotating basis, maybe four to six or to four to five players possession, no contact drills. And then you have other teams and organizations like Mark Cuban's, the Dallas Mavericks who want to remain patient, do not want to get back into practice, do not want to start activity or operations, as they don't want to risk the health of their players. The Lakers are the same way. So how where do you where's the middle ground that there you have ownership, that it's been some ownership that's being overly cautious, some of some ownership that feels more comfortable? The players had a conference call on Friday and now probably about, I think 80 to 85 percent of the NBA players were on the call was the league that was organized by the NBA Players Association and by the league. And all the overwhelming consensus is that players want to get back. Yeah, people want to get as do as does the rest of humanity wants to get back into the swing of things, but players want to get back. But again, it's about finding what that model looks like. I don't see a fan, a fan attended experience happening by the end of the year, unfortunately. So what does it look like? What does it look like if a player even refuses to play? And you have an exception, an exception to the overall, you know, general consensus of players who want to get back. So then how does that work if they don't feel comfortable with playing against somebody that, you know, that they think or that might have gotten diagnosed? So there's just like from an operational standpoint, it's a bit of a nightmare. I do think that hopefully from an American sports standpoint, the NBA will find the model, even though a lot of people seem to think that baseball will have the highest rate of success in having the very abbreviated season. They came up with a plan that they hope to get back in July, and that would be a season with 82 games, which is about half of the traditional season of 162 that I know.
Chris Snyder [00:35:57] By the way, I love that. Yeah. I just mean, at this point, I can't watch 160 baseball games, first of all. Second of all, I'm glad they're getting something. Your business, Talent Resources Sports - events, athlete appearances, and social media endorsements. So first two - events and athlete appearances. So like you mentioned, a lot of things that could happen there. You actually have to plan your business around this bullshit. So what are you going to do about events? What are you going to do about athlete appearances? I feel like social media is something that's probably easily solved. But you know what's going on with events and athlete appearances, maybe. How did you maybe how are you transitioning the whole business into social media endorsements? I don't know yet.
David Spencer [00:36:51] So so to touch on that, the most important thing when you're faced with adversity and any type of business is being able to adapt and being able to pivot. We've been really fortunate in that we have a very dynamic team at our company that is ahead of the curve. And we are a small enough agency of 30 people that we can adapt rather quickly. So. On the event side, our biggest event is Super Bowl. We were really fortunate enough together to get it under our belt in February or early February. But now what we're seeing and we're helping consumer brands with is creating digital dance. So whether it's coming to us for us to create a digital happy hour and get some celebrities to drop in to engage with their fans is something that we've done. We are working on an opportunity with Sports Illustrated where we go we go out to our network with athletes and have pregame recipes that are discussed and we'll sort of identify an athlete's favorite pre-game recipe and then touch the food space and our food partners and have them support those recipes. And then it's a way for those consumer brands to be able to touch the event space without really being at an event. So the virtual space is something that we're really bullish on and exhausting and really, really excited about at the same time because there's so many different things that you can do with it. And it also has a real it's a way forward for these consumer rants to touch their audience and engage with their audience, which in the end, that's what marketing is. It's a way to really connect with it for brands to connect with their audience and identify ways that are out of the box and unique ways that they can do so. So the virtual event space is something we're very excited about and we're still planning events as usual. Was this as if they are happening to be prepared? But at the same time, we're working to adopt and to pivot in the event face like virtual events that we're doing and social media opportunities. We've had a head start in doing those for the past seven or eight years. So that's something that we're doing even more business in. And brands are really coming to us because we have that type of experience and have had a head start of that space. And we're able to get things done really quickly, get quick answers, Don, and bring things to life in a very effective and meaningful way to help the brands elevate and augment their messaging.
Chris Snyder [00:39:36] Yeah, I love that. I was just thinking about this when I was listening to you and I was thinking about it in three ways. You've got the brands, right? You've got the athletes right, and then you've got ideas. So how hard is it or? Walk me through how much of this for you guys anyway is about OK, we get the athletes. Those are or I guess you could call them the brands and then the advertisers would be Wendys Amazon, Red Bull, Sam Adams, Budweiser, like those could be the advertisers. And then you have in the middle this you have ideas. So you have traditional agencies probably coming up with ideas that work directly with Budweiser. Right. So I'm thinking about this three-legged stool here. What is it that you guys own the most of? Is it the idea? Is it the advertiser or is it. Is it the celebrity brand?
David Spencer [00:40:37] It's our relationships and our experience and how to bring things from life. And then out of the box way. So brought any brand can go to a sports agency and go give them a brief and say, listen, like who do you suggest? And that agency will then turn around and offer their roster of clients. Yeah, we don't represent talent. That's not what our wheelhouse is. But we go back to the brand and give a recommendation based on the fact that we're agnostic. So we're giving them a recommendation based on their app, on the actual potency that an athlete or a celebrity will have to help actually move the needle. So I don't have a fiduciary duty to a roster of talent that I have to push marketing staff to audit. We have proprietary data. We have proprietary data that we can go and comb through social media and we have certain KPIs that we can go back to the brand and say, this is why you should engage with Scottie Pippen or this is why you should engage with Steph Curry, because those athletes are ones that will hit the target demographic that you're trying to reach. And we have a very detailed algorithm which is proprietary to us. And then based on our relationships, I can call stuff up or I can call Scottie Pippen up or I know somebody who can get to them very quickly. In most cases, sort of bypassing the agent. It's not something we like to do. But because, again, going back to what how we sort of started the interviews is like building a network of relationships is something that has been very, very integral in our success. So that's facilitated us getting answers and and and really knowing what talent will do, what types of opportunities, and what talent won't do. So we cut through a lot of the bullshit. We cut through a lot of we get a lot of it really makes us a lot more efficient and expedites the process. So if a talent says, listen, I want you to speak to my agent, we worked very well with agencies, but a lot of the time, especially on the social media opportunity, is because we work in such volume. We know sort of what the market is and what they were market makers and that in the social media product placement space. So we're able to really identify who that talent is and what's realistic for the brand. So the brand will come to us. We'll give them a recommendation based on the marketing directives they have and then based on their approval and our recommendation, we'll go execute on that recommendation and then manage the deal from start to finish.
David Spencer [00:43:27] So you have some proprietary tech that allows you to see some data points that would allow you to potentially index some of these athletes versus some of these brands and what they want to push. And then you can say, hey, they saw our proprietary tech. Here's the frequency, here's the Reacher's the awareness, here's the attention. Here's the demographic. Here's what we expect to get out of this. Do you guys also bring the out of the box thinking in the ideas to the table?
David Spencer [00:44:02] Yeah, in a lot of cases we do. Like we've conceptualized this virtual pre-game kickoff for Sports Illustrated. So that is a whole plan that the reason we picked it is because we knew that especially in this time of COVID, that there are a lot of people sitting at home, a lot of people that are engaging with different food products that they normally wouldn't engage with at the supermarket or when they're getting their deliveries. So in this consumer product goods space, we've found that products that are in that food space are the ones that need to have a voice and that need to fight through the noise and reach their target demographic to help move products. So how could we sort of conceptualize an idea with sports and food? And this is the idea that we had. Why not have all the athletes under the Sports Illustrated umbrella go and speak to their audience and tell them what they're eating and how they're staying in shape and what their pregame ritual is? And then how can we build different consumer products into that model? And what does that model look like in a digital space where people aren't going to a brick and mortar location to go experience and taste the food? But we're facilitating a way that the audience can go and replicate that recipe and also replicate that recipe with some of the brands that we would suggest them using that really want to get in. Some of them, some great consumer brands that we work with.
Chris Snyder [00:45:35] This is. Is this is definitely pie expansion. It's not just trading places inside of a pie. You guys are coming up with things that make the pie bigger and more interesting for the brands and the advertisers. You know, the idea flow. So talk to me a little bit about speaking of expansion, water, your athletes. Are your brands telling you or your advertisers telling you about international expansion like China is a big market. I know there's there's some things going on over there as it relates to social media taking care of social media accounts for national brands and taking them international and providing those services. How do you see growth internationally for your local national brands?
David Spencer [00:46:24] Well, I think the first thing is, is that does a specific brand, what have the distribution and the supply chain in place to be able to serve an international market? So it may be one of two different things that a brand wants to do when they say they want to expand internationally. Do they want to have a voice and a presence in a place like China and be content with that? And or do they want to have that voice and actually move products? It can be both. Or really one of them. So we have brands come to us from under both scenarios. They're releasing a product and they're trying to reach a Chinese or a European or a Brazilian market. And they have a supply chain in place enabled that will enable them to deliver products to an audience that they haven't touched before. And then in other cases, it's OK. Listen, we already have a global presence, and it's important for us to continue that, maintaining that global presence or expand into new territories and offer up different messaging that a company is doing in one of those existing spaces. So the first thing is, is really like what is the goal of the brand? Are they trying to move product in that new space and expand internationally by leveraging the power of celebrity or sports? Or is it something that they just want to expand their brand messaging? Coming to us and working. Sorry. Coming to us and working with, you know, specifically sports. Sports is a language that transcends all audiences and all borders. So they're working with different athletes. Is something that's important and is very attractive to brands that, you know. For example, the NBA is extremely, extremely big in China and Asia. So that's a way for different brands that are both either Asian and or American. They can leverage the power of an athlete like a LeBron James or Jeremy Lin to advance their marketing goals and milestones. So it really, again, depends on what their prerogative is and how what what their what their version of a win and conquering a market is.
Chris Snyder [00:48:53] So do you see, it's kind of interesting. I think at the beginning of the show, you'd mentioned how the business leaders, the athletes are looking more at fast following the business leaders, whether it be an Amazon or if feels a little more entrepreneurial for these athletes. How much has that really? How much have they really been able to get into that space and when are we going to see athletes actually creating their own companies, not just kind of being associated or affiliated with Nike? Why don't they become their own Nike, right? Not just associating or investing in a brand and saying, I endorse this product. Why don't they build a product company and be that company? Are you seeing a transition into that?
David Spencer [00:49:46] Absolutely, I've seen that definitely in the sports drink space. So you have a company like a Body Armor who doesn't do endorsement deals, but they have equity deals with some of the most important athletes in the world. So athletes like Kobe Bryant, James Harden are both part of Body Armor. Kobe - rest in peace. But they're a consortium of different athletes that are part of that company. And that's the DNA of what the brand is. And the athletes that support them and that are part of that company are all about body armor. Another brand, like art of shaving or an art of substory, an art of sport is something that is as an equity ownership by James Harden. It's something that he uses on a daily basis. Again, it's part of his DNA and something that the athletes are becoming more and more savvy. And again, it's not really like it continues to happen, but it's not really only about slapping the relationship equity on a brand, but they are a lot more hands-on in this day and age and involving themselves in day to day operation, and especially now in the time where they're all sitting on the sidelines. This is where they're taking the time to be an even more active contributor to the operational aspect of a consumer brand or the marketing of the consumer brand.
Chris Snyder [00:51:14] Yeah, I love it. This is great. Well, I feel like David, I feel like we could go on forever about this. This is super interesting stuff. What took to close this off a little bit? Can you tell me you've done a lot of things over the course of your career. You grew up in an interesting place. You were investment banker. You became an entrepreneur. You've old enough to experience a couple cycles. You see a lot of things, you know, both at the executive level, at your own companies. Plus you see what athletes are going through. Plus you see what advertisers are going through. Do you have any advice for our audience as we start to wrap this thing up here?
David Spencer [00:51:57] Yeah, I think like I think I've touched on two things that I would instill is - the first is continue to trust your instincts and move forward. And some of the best lessons you learned are through failure and also going through adversity and identifying how to overcome those obstacles and figure out what you did wrong and assert a specific sort of situation of what you did right. Some of the best ideas have been built on and created through adversity. And not that there's been in history, something like Hovey before, but there have been serious. Issues in the past that people have had to persevere through. So, again, not to be dissuaded to maintain persistency and focus through difficult times. Trust her instinct. And then lastly, to continue to build your network and continue to extract you through your network and really help benefit people within your network. Because that all comes back to you tenfold.
Chris Snyder [00:53:03] Yeah, that's great advice. That's great advice, everyone. David Spencer, CEO and co-founder of Talent Resources Sports Talent Resources, provides full service, marketing and creative strategy development with a leading edge in the world of entertainment. David, we got to do it again sometime soon. Thank you very much for coming on the show.
David Spencer [00:53:23] Thanks very much.