John Madden needed an assistant. Madden did not fly. So, fresh out of Syracuse University, Sandy Montag rode the train across America with Madden, making sure he had the equipment to prepare for his next national broadcast. This was three decades before the iPad.
“I carried his 60-pound Bell and Howell projector so we could watch game film,” Montag said.
Montag eventually became an agent, with Madden as his first client. Montag became a prominent name in his business, and he said the agency with his name on it now represents more than 200 broadcasters.
“Without Madden,” he said, “there is no Montag.”
As of Wednesday, the Montag Group is part of Wasserman, the Los Angeles-based agency. Wasserman announced the acquisition of the Montag Group, whose client list includes such broadcasters as Bob Costas, Jim Nantz, Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale.
In a statement, Wasserman chairman Casey Wasserman called the Montag Group “the preeminent media agency in the industry.” By merging forces, the agencies hope to provide lifelong representation for athletes who transition into broadcasting or coaching.
Said Montag: “When there is a network that says, ‘We have a need for an analyst in such and such a sport,’ there is probably someone with Wasserman that would be appropriate for that position.”
The Wasserman client list includes hundreds of athletes over a variety of traditional and action sports, with household names including Russell Westbrook of the Lakers, Nolan Arenado of the St. Louis Cardinals, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, Women’s World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, and Olympic swimmer and multiple gold medalist Katie Ledecky.
“We represent a lot of clients, and every year more of them will retire,” said Wasserman executive vice president Jason Ranne. “We want to be able to offer them best-in-class services in things they are seeking out.”
Ranne declined to discuss why Wasserman’s in-house broadcasting and coaching representation services had not sufficed but said of Montag’s agency: “When you have a chance to add the best of the best to the platform, you do it.”