10K80 by Conrad Hoyt December 10, 2020
The boutique sports and entertainment agency Loyalty Above All doesn’t operate like your average talent management company. It runs more like a family-owned business grinding its way to creating an empire.
Not only does Loyalty Above All get its clients the best deals and opportunities possible, but it has even built a platform for athletes to monetize their likeness, creating a passive revenue stream. This makes LAA’s clients money when they’re not even officially on the clock.
“All our guys have to do is play football,” says Matthew Leist, Director of Client Relations at LAA. “We’ll take care of the rest.”
The sports and entertainment agency took off running five years ago and founder Zac Hiller, who secured over $100 million in contracts before his 30th birthday, hasn’t looked back since. Hiller has just been named as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 for sports in 2021.
Along with Hiller (who also acts as LAA’s CEO), Leist and Director of Marketing Eric Dounn run the show, and the agency team is the youngest in the industry by a wide margin.
“Being able to relate to the next generation in sports and entertainment has enabled us to build something truly unique.”Eric Dounn
Loyalty Above All represents star NFL talents such as Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook, Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins, and even retired future Hall of Fame cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Every business deal for LAA’s clients is treated like its own. The athletes have creative control over their decisions, and instead of using an outside agency to sell merchandise and figure out other business opportunities, LAA does it all in-house, ensuring its clients reap all of the earnings that they deserve.
“Athletes should have full control over their careers.”Matt Leist
Loyalty Above All represents more than just athletes too. Entertainment stars such as comedian Bob Menery, and artists Kierra Luv, and Ray Emmanuel get to call LAA home.
Hiller and Leist’s jobs, above all else, is to to make sure their clients are happy. This means constantly checking up on them and seeing how they can grow further. In that sense, LAA is run much like a family boutique.
“We are a family. We keep everything in-house.”Matt Leist
When ticket sales went out the window at the onset of the pandemic, Loyalty Above All, like most businesses, had to shift and find new ways to continue bringing revenue in for its clients. What LAA and Leist pivoted to see was a booming marketplace for memorabilia.
“Teaching our clients to monetize their worth through their signature is imperative.”Eric Dounn
Without the ability to see their favorite stars on the field or on stage, fans would be more eager to pay for things such as game-worn jerseys, helmets, gloves, etc. And because LAA sells it all on-site and not through an outside account, its clients (and/or the charities they provide for) receive the most money possible.
“Everything our clients touch, wear, or put their name on has value. That value can be exponential in terms of building a brand and leaving a legacy.”Eric Dounn
One such example is Dalvin Cook’s chef clothing line which goes directly to charity. With Cook and LAA in full control, as Leist puts it, “Dalvin is in control.”
“We can add any product or service to the platform.”Matt Leist
It has been a difficult year, where past certainties now are no longer. The NFL season was completely up in the air as to how it would be handled, and whether or not it would even be possible. But as Leist says, “our guys stayed ready to go, they locked in and stayed healthy, and followed the rules.”
It’s evident LAA and its clients get it. Dalvin Cook has been having the best season of his career while rookie J.K. Dobbins has also been a bright spot on the Baltimore Ravens offense.
“We want players that understand the model,” says Leist, alluding to the chemistry present between him, Hiller, and all of LAA’s clients.
When it comes to Loyalty Above All, it’s all in the name. Loyalty, combined with a diligent work ethic, allows the brand to be massively successful today while also set up for prosperity in the long-term.
By creating strategic partnerships with like-minded athletes and influencers, LAA will no doubt continue to grow the brand and make a larger name for itself. And by solidifying those family roots early on, Loyalty Above All is building a foundation made to stand the test of time.