Paul Rabil, the first professional lacrosse player to amass a million-dollar endorsement portfolio, has hired Octagon as his marketing representative.
Rabil said he’s joining the firm’s Personalities & Properties division and will be represented by agent Erin Kane, whose clients include Olympic softball pitcher Jennie Finch. The division includes Nascar driver Jimmie Johnson and former National Football League coaches Bill Cowher, Brian Billick and Herm Edwards. Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps is also an Octagon client.
The 27-year-old Rabil in a telephone interview said he sought a long-term, global-minded partner capable of increasing not only his personal brand, but the sport of lacrosse at both the professional and development levels. Rabil is the first lacrosse player represented by Octagon, a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos. (IPG:US), the second-largest U.S. advertising company.
“Octagon has a track record with other professional athletes whose sport has a growing participation at the youth level but low visibility at the pro level,” said Rabil, who had been represented by Baltimore-based attorney Ira Rainess. Rainess will remain an adviser to Rabil.
Kane said there are similarities between Rabil and Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games. Phelps has endorsements with, among others, Louis Vuitton, Subway, Head & Shoulders, Speedo, Omega and Hilton. Octagon also manages the swimmer’s foundation.
“We envision having Paul alongside top athletes in other sports. It comes down to personality that captures imagination,” said Kane, adding that her first order of business is to perform a brand analysis of the two-time Major League Lacrosse Most Valuable Player. “Paul brings lacrosse out of the niche area.”
A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Rabil plays for the Philadelphia Wings of the indoor National Lacrosse League and the Boston Cannons of the outdoor MLL. Included in his endorsement portfolio are Red Bull, New Balance Inc.’s Warrior brand, which features a Rabil line; Polk Audio; Nooka watches; and EFX performance bracelets.
There were about 1.6 million lacrosse participants in the U.S. in 2012, up 7.1 percent from the previous year and 8.9 percent from 2007, according to the Silver Spring, Maryland-based Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Half of the participants have an annual household income of more than $75,000, SFIA said.
“It’s a great demographic that people want to connect to,” Kane said. “People are looking for opportunities to reach new people in different ways.”
Octagon will also manage Rabil’s foundation, which according to its mission statement is committed to helping kids, especially those with learning differences, realize their potential through sports.
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