LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A small company that has opened the door for companies to quickly sign endorsement deals with top athletes is eyeing the music world as its next target market.
Brand Affinity Technologies (BAT) matches companies as large as Sony Corp, or as small as a Houston air conditioning, firm with athletes in two weeks or less to endorse products or services. Now it wants to do the same for top singers.
“The next big phase for us is music and musicians,” BAT Chief Executive Ryan Steelberg said in an interview. “In Q2, we’ll be coming to market and announcing our music platform.”
Steelberg, speaking at a conference in Los Angeles this week, declined to say what bands or musicians his firm was working with, but said he liked the potential of that market.
“We’ve been researching for a very long time what’s the next celebrity expansion and we really like music and bands,” he told Reuters. “A lot of these bands tour, so there’s a lot of stuff that I think has been left on the floor.”
Steelberg, who sold his last company to Google Inc, started BAT with his brother Chad in 2007 with the idea of using proprietary search engine technology to quickly match up athletes and companies for endorsement deals. In some cases, deals have come together as quickly as 36 hours.
The average BAT deal is $25,000 to $50,000, although some have been as small as $3,000, Steelberg said.
BAT derives its revenue, expected to double this year to about $30 million, off fees from deals it arranges, he said.
He said one advantage of BAT’s approach is it opens the door to smaller companies quickly finding local sports stars and broadcasters at reasonable prices for short-term endorsement deals.
Nevertheless, the speed aspect also appeals to large firms. Sony, Ford Motor Co, McDonald’s Corp, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Intuit Inc and others are customers, Steelberg said.
The idea is to help companies identify athletes beyond the obvious candidates such as swimmer Michael Phelps, football quarterback Peyton Manning or basketball star LeBron James, especially when most athletes outside such national stars are known more on a local basis, he said.
“Carson Palmer in Cincinnati during the season is as popular as any other form of celebrity,” Steelberg said of the National Football League quarterback.
BAT tracks 23,000 celebrities, including non-athletes, and has signed up more than 3,300 sports stars.
Reporting by Ben Klayman; Editing by Tim Dobbyn