Reed Bergman is a nationally known and respected brand builder and compelling influencer within the sports business industry. He is most recognized for his unique expertise in maximizing and monetizing business opportunities for the athletes and sports celebrities he represents, with nearly 25 years of success negotiating an extraordinary amount of diverse types of deals and partnerships across this industry.
Reed commenced his work in the sports business industry in 1991, joining Atlanta based Career Sports Management as an intern after graduating from Emory University. Over the course of six plus years, Reed was vital in expanding the agency from a three-person start-up to an established business with 50+ employees. Rising to Senior Vice President, he secured corporate relationships and generated revenue with a multitude of high profile brands such as Pizza Hut, Mercedes Benz, Anheuser-Busch, and Coca Cola. He was essential in winning the business of Hall of Fame athletes like Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz to represent their on and off field needs. The coup de gras of his tenure at Career Sports was securing “Agency of Record” status for the Bell South Corporation, negotiating and executing their multi-figure, multi-year sponsorships with the Atlanta Braves, the Florida Marlins, Orlando Magic, the SEC and ACC athletic conferences, and player endorsement deals with celebrities like Atlanta Hawks Dominique Wilkins and NCAA basketball Head Coach Rick Pitino on behalf of the corporation. In addition, Reed procured the naming rights deal for Bell South’s NASCAR race in Nashville. The Bell South account (now AT&T) is still a staple of the agency 20 years later, thanks to Reed’s determination and focus.
In 1998, Reed was lured away by baseball “super” agent Scott Boras to exclusively create, build, and run Impact Sports Marketing as an equity partner with Boras. Reed focused on maximizing the business opportunities for The Boras Corporation’s premium players like Alex Rodriguez, Greg Maddux, Barry Bonds, Bernie Williams, et al. He also expanded the agency’s services to include corporate consulting, event management, hospitality, and national sponsorship sales, as well as signature player representation. Reed generated significant revenue with multi-figure endorsements for clients including A-Rod (Pepsi, Dannon, AT&T), Bernie Williams (Coca Cola, Jaguar) Rafael Palmeiro (Pfizer’s Viagra brand), Roger Clemens (Kellogg’s, Modell’s Sporting Goods) and Barry Bonds (Pacific Bell, David’s Sunflower Seeds, and Armour Hot Dogs). Another major victory was the exclusive retainer to handle all sports marketing needs for the Radio Shack Corporation, in which Reed negotiated landmark deals with Major League Baseball as well as the Texas Motor Speedway. It was the creation of these deals that helped compound the success of Impact Sports, where it was hailed by both the Sports Business Journal and USA TODAY as a major powerhouse sports marketing firm within three years of existence.
After nearly five years of unprecedented growth, Reed left Impact Sports in 2002 to design and build Playbook inc. As President and CEO, Reed established relationships representing hosts, analysts, play-by-play announcers, and reporters. It was his first broadcast client, ESPN’s Rich Eisen (currently of NFL Network and DirecTV), that would be the catalyst for future growth in this vertical. This early successful collaboration with Eisen led to the addition of other major national broadcast talent for Playbook inc. such as FOX’s Matt Millen and CBS’s Randy Cross.
In addition, Playbook inc. represented the NHL’s Florida Panthers as their national sales arm, where Reed procured team sponsorships with McDonalds, the US Army, and Miami Subs/Nathan’s Old Fashioned. As anticipated, the significant revenue generated landing exclusive retainers as the sports marketing arm for multi-billion dollar brands Glaceau Vitamin Water (purchased by Coca Cola) and ConAgra Foods, along with managing the business of MLB’s Carlos Delgado and Willie Randolph, NFL’s Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, and NBA legends like Lenny Wilkens, made Playbook inc. highly attractive to potential industry suitors.
In 2007, Reed sold complete ownership interest in Playbook inc. to DeBartolo Sports and Entertainment. Reed became Principal and Partner of the new firm, where he advanced the interests of the distinct company divisions, namely DeBartolo Sports University and DeBartolo Hospitality, as well as the DSE Athlete Representation Division. Reed and DSE’s early success was punctuated by landing clients such as future NFL superstar DeSean Jackson.
Reed elected to re-establish Playbook inc. in 2010 as an independent boutique broadcast talent agency and sports marketing firm. Since that time, Playbook inc. and Reed’s talented team have risen to new heights by continuing to provide premium sports broadcasting services, strategic corporate consulting, and unique content development. This iteration of Playbook inc. exclusively manages the careers of major industry stalwarts like NBC and DirecTV’s Dan Patrick as well as the new breed of star with brilliant crossover talent like ESPN analyst and ABC’s Good Morning America host Jesse Palmer.
This newest edition of Playbook inc. is especially known for for its eye towards developing young vibrant talent like SEC Network’s Greg McElroy, FOX Sports David Diehl, and MLB Network’s Scott Braun. Reed and his team design custom tailored game-plans, i.e. an actual personal client “Playbook”, to manage and guide these exciting careers.