MASTRY Ventures And General Catalyst Acquire NFL Sports Agency Athletes First

MASTRY Ventures announced today, in partnership with General Catalyst, that it has acquired a majority stake in Athletes First. Athletes First is the premier football agency representing athletes, coaches, front office personnel, and broadcasters. Founded in 2001 by Brian Murphy, Athletes First has set itself apart by brokering countless record-breaking contracts, representing eight Super Bowl MVPs, the most first round NFL draft picks for three years in a row, and a prestigious list of NFL and NCAA coaches and front office personnel. Athletes First’s roster of more than 450 clients includes Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Aaron Donald, Derwin James, Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt Lafleur, LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly, and Chicago Bears General Manager Ryan Poles. This partnership will expand opportunities for Athletes First’s clients to take their success to new levels beyond the field. The terms of the deal were undisclosed.

“Athletes First is not simply the name of our company, it is our culture, mission, and family,” said Brian Murphy, an Athletes First Founder and CEO. “MASTRY Ventures and General Catalyst are exceptional partners for us as their success is rooted in that same philosophy. This partnership will redefine the traditional continuum of representation services as we use our combined platforms and vision to help clients maximize their positive impact on families, communities, and the world.”

“Athletes have yet to capitalize on the full value and scale of their social reach and cultural impact. As we move into the next chapter, I look forward to building on the existing success of Athletes First, while focusing on empowering athletes beyond the field by transforming them from players to owners,” said Rudy Cline-Thomas, MASTRY Ventures Co-founder and Managing Partner. “This acquisition creates a tangible pathway for our clients to play the long game on their terms. MASTRY Ventures has long admired Athletes First, not just for building the world’s top football agency, but also for the intentional way they do business, their unique culture of putting athletes first, and genuine commitment to teamwork.”

MASTRY Ventures and General Catalyst plan to create new platforms in which Athletes First’s clients can unlock new opportunities, build enterprises, and establish greater ownership across various industries. MASTRY Ventures Co-founder Rudy Cline-Thomas will assume a pivotal role as Chairman of the largest NFL agency.

“The need for more diverse representation in the sports industry was a driving force in pursuing this partnership,” said Cline-Thomas. “The acquisition allows us to expand opportunities for our clients, create real value, and remove long-standing barriers to access.”

“We believe athletes are among the most important influencers and creators in society today. They need and deserve the tools, technology, and relationships to grow and build their personal enterprises and their impact. We have seen this shift happen before for artists, content creators and small businesses and how it’s unlocked incredible opportunity,” said Paul Kwan, Managing Director at General Catalyst. “We are excited to collaborate with Athletes First and MASTRY Ventures to build a category defining company that helps athletes thrive and brings powerful positive change that endures.”

Brian Murphy will remain CEO and run day-to-day operations.

About Athletes First

Athletes First is a full-service management firm that has been representing elite players, coaches, personnel, and broadcasters since its inception in 2001. Based in Southern California, with satellite offices in New York City, NY, Gainesville, FL, Austin, TX and Atlanta, GA, Athletes First is a staple in the sports representation business. Athletes First has strategically grown its practice with the most widely experienced agent team in the industry composed of forward thinkers, trained attorneys, and master negotiators. Our mission is simple: Do the right things, with the right people, for the right reasons.

About MASTRY Ventures

MASTRY Ventures is a venture capital firm that leads early-stage investments. Our promise at MASTRY Ventures is to be a lot more than capital. Our network includes 100+ of the most impactful public and private company founders and CEOs, the brightest operators with deep technical and industry expertise, a roster of Midas List VCs, and the most progressive athletes and influencers shaping today’s world. We leverage our unique network to bend the risk curve for our companies. We develop partnerships, create distribution advantages, help build people strategies, and provide true rolled-up-sleeves support to help our founders succeed. And it doesn’t end there. Diversity, equity and inclusion is a MASTRY Ventures cornerstone. We are building a unique playbook to ensure access to diverse capital, governance and talent for our portfolio companies from day one.Our past portfolio includes Zoom, Pager Duty, Datadog, Robinhood, Carta, Coinbase, GOAT, Uber, Dapper Labs, Levels Health, Hippo, Madison Reed, Acorns, Papa, Pachama, Nurx, Hims, Shef to name a few.

About General Catalyst

General Catalyst is a venture capital firm that invests in powerful, positive change that endures — for our entrepreneurs, our investors, our people, and society. We support founders with a long-term view who challenge the status quo, partnering with them from seed to growth stage and beyond to build companies that withstand the test of time. With offices in San Francisco, Palo Alto, New York City, London, and Boston, the firm has helped support the growth of businesses such as: Airbnb, Deliveroo, Guild, Gusto, Hubspot, Illumio, Lemonade, Livongo, Oscar, Samsara, Snap, Stripe, and Warby Parker. For more:

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