More than 165 million Americans, about 70 percent of the population, claim they follow sports. Each year, they pack stadiums and tune in to networks to watch their favorite teams. With a plethora of college teams and professional clubs from the five major sports, it’s no surprise Dallas is considered one of the best sports cities in the country. The games are an integral part of the sports industry, but they’re just a small part of the booming business. Professional athletes, sports marketers, agents and philanthropists from our neighborhood share what it’s really like to work in the industry worth $700 billion globally.
Need to contact Troy Aikman? Roger Staubach? Sorry to say, we can’t help you. But we know the person who can. Lakewood neighbor Todd Krumholz is the owner and managing director of JTK Talent, a marketing service that connects companies with professional athletes for endorsements, appearances and speaking engagements. Over six years at the position, Krumholz has represented Aikman, Staubach and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebackers Mike Singletary and Charles Haley. He’s also worked on commercials featuring Chicago Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels for Hari Mari, the Lakewood-based flip-flop company that has a national presence. The position has taken him to 15 Super Bowls, NBA All-Star Games and World Series. But before you become too envious, try getting Dez Bryant to an event on time. It’s no easy task.
Hardest part of the job: The hardest part of getting started is building the relationships and the trust. What you’re doing is calling people and saying, “I have an opportunity for you.” Unfortunately, these guys have gotten screwed over before. There used to be people who’d say, “I’ll give you $10,000 to come do this.” The athletes would make an appearance and never hear from them again.
On damage control: Doing it for a long time, you learn who you want to work with and who you don’t. Then you can steer your client toward success. I’ve waited on Dez Bryant for two hours for an appearance. That’s happened to me twice. You send a car, you follow up, you talk to his handler — but there’s nothing I can do about it. You hopefully get to a point where you can consult your client into being successful in who they’re choosing to work with. Sometimes they get hung up on who they want if they have personal feelings for a particular player. You’re hiring me for when something goes wrong. If they don’t show up, I can get someone else. I save my clients time and money on getting deals done. If you’re Hari Mari and want to get in touch with Cole Hamels, you have no idea where to start. I can get in touch and check interest and availability.
Best part of the job: I never thought growing up in Dallas in the ’90s that the Triplets would know my name. There are some surreal moments when you’re doing stuff with guys like that who are your heroes and getting to know them on a personal level. There are some cool moments when you’re in this business.
Favorite sports memory: Vince Young winning the national championship for Texas. I was at the Rose Bowl with a bunch of buddies from college.
A positive memory with a client: I helped Pudge Rodriguez with his Baseball Hall of Fame induction. I was with him all week in Cooperstown with his wife and kids and family. I was like his right-hand man with pens and sharpies. It was really rewarding, but it was a lot of work. It’s like managing a wedding with the Rangers, the hall of fame, family and friends. He was very gracious and was taking it all in stride.
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Job title: Owning and managing director of JTK Talent
Alma mater: University of Texas
Sports hero: Vince Young