Leading influencer marketing agency launches VN Sports to cultivate athletes at high school and collegiate levels, disrupting the brand partnership industry
TORONTO, ON – September 2, 2021 – Viral Nation, the leader in influencer marketing, technology, and talent management, launches its new division, VN Sports. In the digital-first, influencer-oriented world, this new venture disrupts traditional talent management models, helping collegiate athletes cultivate long-term and relevant brand partnerships.
The launch of VN Sports follows a June resolution by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), allowing college athletes to use their name, image, and likeness (NIL) to seek brand partnership and endorsement deals, previously only available to athletes on the professional level. Viral Nation’s history in talent and influencer relations provides a strategic advantage for young athletes eager to break into the new normal of monetizing influence.
Viral Nation has enlisted professional sports marketing industry heavyweights to execute the vision for VN Sports. Tapped as VN Sports Vice President, Mike Lecce joins Viral Nation with a decade of experience in commercial management and representation of professional athletes, including David’ Big Papi’ Ortiz, Alex Bregman, and Jose Bautista. Lecce will lead recruiting and brand partnerships for the division under the leadership of Viral Nation’s Chief Growth Officer, Jonathan Chanti.
Nutrition coach to professional athletes and celebrities including Drake, Steph Curry, and Imari Johnson, OVO Alonzo “Roxx” Thorne will work with Lecce and Chanti in securing brand partnerships for VN Sports clients.
“Our mission is to build one of the most inclusive, collaborative sports management divisions in the industry,” said Joe Gagliese, CEO and co-founder of Viral Nation. “Our team of agents are the best in the business: dynamic and creative, their success speaks for itself. They understand that brand partnerships speak louder than ads and have raised the bar regarding client successes. They are trailblazers in the new world of athlete-influencer marketing.”
Roger Rai, Special Advisor to the Chairman of the Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers Communications, joins Viral Nation Sports as an official strategic advisor. “The rules in our digital-first world change daily: navigating this environment while maintaining a personal brand requires tact and strategy. Athletes now have access to expertise from the pioneering company in influencer marketing and influencer talent representation, Viral Nation,” said Rai. “Not every college athlete will graduate as a professional player. VN Sports creates life-long opportunities that weren’t always previously available.”