Concordia sports agency club finding its footing

Concordia Sports Management Group looking to represent overlooked athletes

Erin Ambrose is one of the athletes that CSMG works with. Photo Courtese Celine Gelinas

The Concordia Sports Management Group was created by President Marcus MacDonald in March 2020 with the goal of providing branding services to athletes in lower-paying sports.

“I had this idea when I saw my best friend, a top-level rugby player, who could have been doing so much with his brand, just not knowing how to get himself out there,” said MacDonald. “I saw it as a good opportunity to offer these branding services free of charge and get these sorts of athletes some exposure.”

It was described as a win-win by MacDonald because it offered the path for passionate Concordia students to get a foot in the door of the sports industry, and helps these athletes as well.

“Sponsorship, social media management, and community relations are our three main branding services,” said MacDonald. “Being that these athletes have less exposure, it allows them to be more available to sponsors and be more open-minded.” 

This club is the only of its kind across all Canadian universities. MacDonald has called for other schools to form similar programs, and has even lobbied for this curriculum to be taught in the form of a six-credit course at Concordia. “We’re doing the things athletes may not know how to do or have the time to do,” he said.

With experience in marketing and working with athletes, MacDonald started this club with the hopes of starting a career as a sports agent.

“I’ve already spoken with a team member about starting our own business,” said MacDonald. “It’s definitely something that I want to do in the future, and that is what makes school clubs so great, they are essentially a trial run to see how things work.” 

Even MacDonald himself has been surprised with the caliber of the athletes his team has been able to recruit. His main goal was to stay away from popular sports, but could not pass up the opportunity to work with some big names, like professional hockey player Erin Ambrose, and Canadian wrestling champion Linda Morais. 

“I was never expecting to work with a world champion wrestler, nor was I expecting to represent a professional hockey player who’s represented Team Canada,” he said.

Morais is a 2019 wrestling world champion, a gold medallist at the 2016 Commonwealth Games, and two-time World University Championship Gold Medallist, representing Concordia. She also aspires to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Ambrose was the 2018-2019 CWHL defenceman of the year, a 2018 World Championship Gold Medallist, as well as an NCAA champion and Collegiate Player of the Year. Erin Ambrose hopes to compete for team Canada in the 2022 winter olympics in China.

“The focus was about what I was interested in and what I wanted to do,” said Ambrose. “I am a big advocate for mental health, and the sponsorship focus is to find companies that align with my beliefs.” 

Ambrose is also adamant on growing the women’s game in North America, something CMSG will be looking to help her with.

“A main focus in our sport has been how to sell women’s hockey,” said Ambrose. 

The best athletes are highly-coveted by top agencies, but CSMG looks to work with those who may not get as much attention.

“Usually sports agents sweep up high-profile athletes,” admitted MacDonald. “Students should not be overseeing athletes that make a large amount of money. We are trying to prepare these athletes to capitalize on their brands.”