Allison Galer admits that she prepares too much. But as the founder of the sports agency Disrupt the Game, it’s a quality that has served her well. In July 2012, 10 months after completing his undergraduate studies at Brown, he launched his business, enrolling only one client. Nine years later, its client list, while still more limited than that of some of its competitors, features some of the biggest names in the sport.
Lisa Leslie from the WNBA, Chiney Ogwumike, Liz Cambage and Crystal Dunn from the USWNT work with Galer. Most recently, Disrupt the Game signed potential WNBA first-round pick Michaela Onyenwere, who is coming off an All-America third-team season at UCLA. Galer says her agency is a rarity because it is “built for women by women.”
“I think what we’re doing is quite special and just duplicating ourselves with these women in a way that no one has done before,” he says. “I work for them, with them and everything else, and ultimately that shows where they are going and where I am going with them.”
As the niece of former Magic Johnson agent Lon Rosen, who is currently the Dodgers’ executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Galer has long been involved in the industry. “But,” he says, “I think a lot of this business, especially at the rate the world is changing, is about being able to adapt and deal with situations that you may not have faced before. In that sense, he’s looking to spice up his agency’s nickname.
Before Thursday’s WNBA draft, Galer spoke with Illustrated Sports about life during the offseason, the marketability of players and what the draft process is like.
The following conversation has been edited for clarity and length.
Sports Illustrated: As you think about the continued rise in interest around the WNBA, has the pace of life in and around the league changed since your agency began? And if so, how?
Allison Galer: Yes I think so. First of all, I think that over the last nine years I have grown a lot. But the business has also grown a lot. The WNBA is in a very different place. Women’s sports are in a very different place than they were.
From a pacing perspective, I think technology has forced everyone to speed up. If you don’t immediately respond to an email, text, or call, there is an expectation that you will respond as soon as possible. I think the good thing for me is that because of my age and going into the business when I did, when I signed players and when I recruited players, I said: “Hey, I’m here for you. I work for you and I am accessible to you. Regardless of how you want to contact me, you will contact me and what time you will be calling me. “I will put my phone on silent while I sleep, but other than that, I am nonstop accessible to my clients, to help them navigate their careers. It is a reflection of how hard my clients have to work.It is not easy being a top female athlete.
SI: Your agency is called Disrupt the Game and you have previously said You wanted to change the narrative around women’s sports and help push clients in new directions. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in doing that, and how successful do you think it has been?
AG: In general, I feel uncomfortable talking about myself, but I think I could see it in practice with some of the agreements that my clients have. I think we do things differently. I think Chiney Ogwunmike is a very good example. She is the first black woman to host her own daily national radio show on ESPN. I reached out to ESPN when they first recruited her in 2014 and asked them to car wash her, put her there.
Visibility is one of the biggest problems with female athletes. They need opportunities and they need visibility because often, most of the time, I always tell people that you give any of my clients a chance, they are going to kill them, and that will lead to the next opportunity. That was all it took.
SI: Based on that, you put together a mini-documentary showing what WNBA free agency was like for Chelsea Gray. What do you think was the result of that project?
AG: So I sat down with her, Chelsea, and his wife, Tipesa, in January 2020, and we brainstormed what our plan was for that year. Where we go? What does Chelsea want to do? What are my ideas for her? That was the first free agency Chelsea was really open to exploring a team outside of Los Angeles, so I asked them, “Hey, what if we pitched Uninterrupted in a mini-documentary that follows us through free agency? “
For me, get Uninterrupted on board to do that for the first time in the WNBA was important. And then it was about making sure Chelsea would be comfortable with a camera to her face when she made some real decisions and really showed how she thinks and how she asks questions and how we go about making really shocking decisions. I think for me as a representative, as an agent, it’s about pushing people to be first, right? As if that has never been done before, but it doesn’t mean that it is restricted by the CBA, and I am an agent who reads the CBA from cover to cover.
SI: You mentioned the collective agreement. How did the new deal signed in January 2020 affect your approach to the WNBA offseason when working with your clients?
AG: I don’t think what I do on a day-to-day basis is so different. But I think there are more opportunities for my clients, which is amazing. Since I started my business, most of the opportunities came from me. And I think what has been happening over the course of the last eight to 10 months, is that all the groundwork that my clients and I have built with relationships, with doing the right thing by the right people, has begun. to pay off and really produce opportunities.
I think my clients are starting to get the opportunities they deserve, whether Liz Cambage is the face of Wilson’s association with the WNBA and the new ball or Chiney is the face of Door Dash’s association with the WNBA or others. Many. It’s just a matter of helping them navigate those situations and making sure that whatever my clients do will bring out what is unique and authentic about them.
SI: How is the writing process for you? How do you recruit new recruits as clients?
AG: I think for me the hiring process has changed over time. The first time I recruited recruits was from 2013 to 2014, when I recruited Chelsea and Chiney. That was the first time I got to know the process, I met the coaches, I met the parents, I met everyone I could, and I really built genuine relationships. I believe that I am genuine and I care, and that is achieved through recruiting. I don’t recruit everyone. I will never be a skilled recruiter. I’m just not cut out for it. I am not a big agency. I work for myself. When I recruit, I don’t promise too much or deliver less; I’m realistic about what a player’s market overseas looks like, what the WNBA looks like, what endorsements look like, what PR is like, brand building, anything and everything in between. I expose it and explain how the situation looks. I’m not saying that I can go get you all these things. I think I’m a realist and I think there are certain players who appreciate it and want that realism in their life, especially from a confidant who has his career in his hands.
SI: If you could make one change in the way players are marketed, what would it be?
AG: I think based on what makes these women amazing. I just try to get people to really look and try to respect and value these women for the badass athletes that they are. Honestly, value women for who they are and what they bring, and the value they ultimately have.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.