Published on May 27th, 2020 | by Percy Crawford0
Hard Work and Dedication, Key to Maxx Management’s Success!
Maxx Management President, Maxx Lepselter picking up where his father left off!
It’s rare to follow in the footsteps of someone who has achieved greatness and be able to duplicate that same greatness, especially a father-son duo. There are numerous examples in the sports world where the offspring just couldn’t produce the type of spark that the elder namesake was able to create. Maxx Lepselter is well on his way of changing this theory as he continues to keep the legacy of his father, Mark intact through his management firm, Maxx Management. In fact, calling, Maxx Management a management firm is inaccurate as they have proven to be a full service off the field firm. Specializing in providing its clients with the best possible opportunities off the field, Maxx Management has formulated relationships with over 500 brands and companies.
I recently spoke to Maxx Management President, Maxx Lepselter who takes us behind the doors of running a successful management firm in the forever changing landscape of sports media, marketing and endorsements!
You launched Maxx Management in 2018. Man, you have made a lot of headway in 2-years. Give us some background on the upstart.
Maxx Lepselter: I appreciate it. I grew up in the industry actually. My father was an NFL agent for quite some time. I have been ingrained in it since I was a kid. Over the years, I’ve always wanted to be on that side of the business. I watched him kind of shift his business back about 10-12 years ago into a broadcasting representation firm. I think he kind of got sick of the ins and the outs of the NFL game; even though he was representing some top tier talent. He decided he wanted to go that way. So, when I saw that and started paying attention to it, as I got older and started realizing and understanding the business and what it was evolving into, I told myself that, there are other opportunities. I really wanted to create an agency that legitimately focused on all services off the field, off the court, off the ice for professional athletes. From their marketing endorsements, activation, public relations, day-to-day lifestyle business management, strategic ventures, digital assets, philanthropic endeavors… everything from that standpoint.
Early on, I was running point at a company that actually started off as a digital marketing agency and created a parent company that was a sports agency. I did some time there. I kind of found and felt like it was time to make that jump. As much as I thought about going and working for some agencies regardless of what side of the business, my old man always told me, “When it comes to sports representation, in many cases you’re better off doing it on your own.” So, I launched Maxx Management and I have not looked back since.
Sometimes when you see what your pops went through both good and bad, it can either deter you or make you run to it. What was it about the business made you run to it?
Maxx Lepselter: I think the main thing was… growing up, I was always a huge fan of sports in general. The NFL and the NBA were extremely big passions of mine. My father represented, Tiki Barber. At the height of Tiki Barber’s career, he was one of the best running backs in the NFL, early 2000’s. So, growing up and seeing not only how it was for him in New York, but seeing the beneficial things my father was doing for him. It was also all the incredible experiences. I think passion is absolutely very important for people. I’m definitely not one to ever downgrade that. I’m very fortunate that I happen to be passionate about what I do. It has come full circle. I think all the things that I was able to experience, learn, understand and see, is a big reason why I wanted to go into this business.
Being that you provide so many different services, one of the things your father didn’t have to deal with is social media. How important is it for you and your team to monitor social media activity and some of the posts of your athletes just to make sure they aren’t posting anything that could eventually bite them?
Maxx Lepselter: It’s extremely important. I think a lot of athletes have a two-sided view on social media. I think it’s an incredible asset that athletes have now in terms of, one for marketing and sponsorship opportunities. Many companies and brands that we work with integrate some level of social component into their activation’s. And then some are strictly on social media, especially now with the way the world is with quarantining. Everything that we have been working on is virtual and digital and social. But beyond that, it’s really making sure that the guys… you hit the nail on the head. Making sure they are staying clean, staying smart and being strategic. Engage with your fans, don’t go overboard when you don’t need to. Keep your private life private, keep your family private and really be a professional. You’re representing the NFL and you’re representing your team. You’re one of the 1,800 best players in the world in American football or whatever the sport is, you gotta make sure you are representing your team and yourself in the right light.
How do you juggle the multiple personalities and egos you deal with on a daily basis?
Maxx Lepselter: You gotta really understand your client. For me, when I’m getting into business with a certain guy in terms of building relationships, we’re in this for business. I don’t view it as, I’m in it to make friends. The goal is to build trust and build a personal relationship because for me, if a guy is going to trust me with handling a multitude of different aspects of their life in their career aside from the contractual component, they need to trust me. They need to know that I’m not only grinding everyday for them, working everyday for them and trying to cultivate the right relationships. For them to know that I have their best interest in mind is important. There are a lot of stories out there, especially with financial advisors, personal managers, marketing reps, contract agencies… a lot of stories out there of guys not always getting the best service.
I truly try to build my companies reputation on, A: Making sure we’re getting shit done, and B: Doing it the right way. So, understanding each guys interest, what they’re looking to do and what they are trying to accomplish, while also trying to navigate them, manage them and make sure that they know this doesn’t last forever. Not even from a financial standpoint, but in terms of, everything that you’re able to leverage, everything that you’re able to do. I think athletes have more access now to everything across the board than ever. No matter what it is no matter where it is, I think guys need to truly understand that and capitalize on that. We do the best of our abilities and like I said, our objective is to cultivate relationships and do things the right way.
Are there certain qualities you look for in athletes before decided if you are going to work with them or not, or is it a matter of having a conversation and making sure the vibe is good?
Maxx Lepselter: I think it’s a combination of both. It’s somewhat standard and cliché, but I do want to know if guys are going to reciprocate mutual respect, that they are interested in building their personal brand and I want a guy that’s dependable because I don’t want to put my relationships on the line. I don’t care if it’s the biggest name in sports. It’s a mutual thing because it’s a mutually beneficial opportunity. You as a talent, obviously we know what you bring to the table, but I know what myself and my company and everything we do… I know the value that that has and the asset we are to an athlete. So, for me it’s gotta be something where there is mutual respect. I think that’s a key part, especially when it comes to certain talent and certain positions. Obviously, many people can bring opportunity to the top tier quarterbacks and wide receivers and the faces of each team. But if you’re a guy and you’re extremely talented on the football field, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be extremely marketable off the field. There is a big-big difference. These guys wear masks and helmets to begin with, so there’s a lot of work that goes into doing that. That’s why we are in the trenches on a day to day basis and working hard for our guys.
Your base roster is NFL talent, but I see you have added an NBA baller, a couple of WNBA ballers to the roster. Can we expect for you to continue diversifying your client professions?
Maxx Lepselter: I definitely have enjoyed the strong numbers in terms of our NFL clientele. And as mentioned earlier in the convo, for me, being a big NFL fan, it’s what I’ve been accustomed to. But we are actually trying to scale more into other sports; the NBA and WNBA is kind of our next niche. A partnership that we have with a company called, The Athlete Assist, they are more on the representation side for NHL players. So, I think we are definitely starting to scale into those other sports. And my overall goal is to be able to do that. I don’t want to be known as just the NFL off the field agency, marketing agency and management firm. I want it to be all the major sports and beyond. And potentially into the entertainment world. I always view it as; relationships are key, and network is key. It’s truly something that is unparalleled. The relationships that we have and have been able to formulate, I think that we can work with just about any talent across any industry.
Which times for you are more nerve-racking, the NFL Draft, free agency or when your clients are entering the playoffs?
Maxx Lepselter: I think it’s a combination of everything. For me, the draft process is extremely important, especially when we’re representing guys coming straight out and handling a majority of their logistics. Again, aside from their NFL contractual components. And then, a lot of the agents we work with, we have close relationships with them. I have the utmost respect and I look at it as, we’re an asset to them. They can focus on what they do best, and they let us do what we do best. But to kind of bring it full circle, I truly think it’s a combination. The draft… making sure the guys are training, handling things the right way, building the foundation on the media side, getting them involved with the right companies. The playoffs, I think there are major opportunities if you have teams going directly into the playoffs and obviously just in terms of the relationship from that standpoint. I want to see our guys win, I want to see our guys do well, so it’s definitely a great feeling when you know you have a client that has the potential to go to the Super Bowl. Free agency is something where we help our guys. Whether it’s relocation or selling their houses, moving and everything like that. From a managerial standpoint, again, cultivating relationships, we have people that are national realtors and are in a partnership with us. And they are making sure that the guys have all their needs taken care of if they are shifting to a new team. And lastly, making sure we are establishing the right relationships in those cities. We have guys in about 18-20 different cities now team-wise, so we have established relationships in a lot of these places. But if a guy is on the move to a new market where we’ve never worked with, gotta get grinding and making sure that we’re putting them in a great position.
Obviously, you don’t build a company like this and have the success you are having by yourself. I wanted to give you the opportunity to shout out your team.
Maxx Lepselter: Absolutely! We have a great team that we’ve been building. A team of 4-6 at this point. Between our business development reps. They have done an incredible job. Ben Mendlen, Alex Lux and Sean Salci, who is kind of heading the basketball and entertainment side and some of our strategic partnerships with several agencies. My executive assistant, God bless her, Kristen [Marshall]. She keeps me in check and makes sure we’re constantly turning, and all of our hardworking interns and outside reps that now work with us on a week to week basis, man. It’s all about the comradery with the team. And I’m a young guy. I’m still figuring out ways to make sure I’m managing the best ways possible. So, my appreciation for my team and everything they are doing, especially during times like this is important to me. It’s all about trust and knowing that, even though I can’t see my guys right now and I can’t see my team face-to-face in a couple of months, knowing that they are working extremely hard during these times, and doing what we can to produce for our clients.
This is a great problem to have, but you have so many clients I didn’t want to get into trying to name them all, but can you just give us an on-the-surface shortlist of your clients.
Maxx Lepselter: Absolutely! We have a great clientele from guys like, Devon Kennard, Justin Simmons, Janoris Jenkins, Josh Jacobs, James Bradberry, Duke Johnson, Keanu Neal, Marquez Valdes-Scantling. We have a great roster from top to bottom, but we’re doing some great work for each individual. We are building around them, and our goal is to make sure that these guys can capitalize all the way across the board.
I wish you and your clients and company the best of luck and things will start to look up and we will get to see them in their capacity again soon. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Maxx Lepselter: I appreciate the opportunity. We definitely look forward to building with you and we will be in touch.
Be sure to follow Maxx Management on Instagram @maxx_mgmtTweet