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Labor and agents: For Will Funk of Range Sports, sport is in the family

Go Funk grew up around NBA players. As a kid, he was a ball boy for the Philadelphia 76ers. His father, Neil Funkwas the play-by-play announcer for the 76ers during the Dr. J era and the voice of the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan championship years in the 90s.

As a child, Will saw how hard his father worked. “When we were in Chicago, he got all three major newspapers and he read every article about the team,” Will Funk said. His father would arrive at games two to three hours early to start looking at player notes.

Funk

After announcing the match, Neil Funk traveled with the team. “It’s a chore, too,” Will said. “They play a game, they get on a plane, they get on a charter. They leave the arena at midnight and land in another town at 2:30 a.m.

“I have such respect for talent,” Will said. “They make it look easy, but it’s hard.”

Young Funk’s long and deep understanding of athletic talent may well serve him well in his new role as president of range sportsthe startup sports division of Range media partners launched this summer.

Range Media, a Hollywood talent management and production company, was launched in September 2020 by former Creative Artists Agency agent Pierre Micelli and several other CAA, WME and UTA agents.

Range Media manages around 500 writers, directors and actors including bradley cooper, Emily Clark, Benicio del Toro, Anna Kendrick, Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, Michael Bay and M.Night Shyamalan. Because it is a management company and not a talent agency, under California law, unlike talent agencies, it can produce movies, TV and streaming shows and other contents.

Owner of the New York Mets Steve Cohen is an investor in Range Media, so Range Sports will not represent baseball players, Will Funk said. “Football is really what we are focusing on at the moment. We are going to focus on the coaching activity and then we are going to focus on the player activity.

Earlier this month, Range Sports announced that it had hired an NFL coaching agent Richmond flowers as president of football and coaches. Flowers represents approximately 60 NFL coaches, including four head coaches.

Contract work is just part of what Range Sports has in mind for talented sports clients. The company will focus on building businesses around customers, including content creation.

Will Funk’s father, Neil Funk (featured with current Chicago Bulls lead commentator Stacey King) ap images

Funk worked at Turner Sports for 21 years, where he was responsible for generating sponsorship revenue for the NBA on TNT, March Madness and the NCAA, MLB on TBS, NHL on TNT and other WarnerMedia Sports assets. He was Executive Vice President at Turner Sports before joining Range Sports.

Prior to Turner Sports, Funk worked at the NBA where he was Senior Director of Global Media Programs. He started his career at MSG and was hired by the general manager and former New York Knicks player. Ernie Grunfeld. The Funk family had known the Grunfeld family since Will was a child and Grunfeld was a player for the Kansas City Kings (which would later become the Sacramentos). Neil Funk was the play-by-play man for the Kansas City Kings.

“Ernie, his wife and children lived a few blocks from us in Kansas City,” Neil Funk said. “So often I would shoot in the driveway and Ernie would be there shooting hoops with William and the other kids in the neighborhood.”

After graduating from college, Will called Grunfeld, who offered him a low-level sales job.

“They put me at a table and a chair in a room with the three Knicks scouts,” Will Funk recalled. “And they were like, ‘What is this kid doing here?’ And I would be on the phone calling people trying to see if they wanted to be a sponsor.

It was the mid-1990s and Will read a newspaper article about Target’s plans to open their first store in New York City, Manhattan. Will picked up the phone and called the retailer. He asked the Target manager, “Would you like to get involved with the Knicks? Nobody knows Target in New York,” Will recounted. “So that’s how I did it. And it was my first contract. »

It was around 1996 and Will Funk was around 24 years old.

Neil Funk recalled that when he started as a play-by-play announcer, he worked at small radio stations where talent was expected to sell advertising, which he was not good at doing.

“William, on the other hand, wasn’t afraid to talk to the CEO of Target or anyone,” Neil Funk said. “William learned to accept ‘No’ and not be offended by it. Because when you’re in this business, you probably hear ‘No’ more than you hear ‘Yes’.”

Neil said he is proud of what his son has accomplished at Turner and throughout his career. But he’s even prouder of himself now. “It’s almost like starting over,” he said. “He wanted to be his own guy. For me, it showed a certain courage.

Liz Mullen can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.



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