Mark McCormack, 72, pioneer sports marketer and founder and chairman of
powerhouse IMG, died Friday in New York. He had been in a coma since a January
McCormack built IMG into a worldwide representation/ licensing/marketing firm
and more, while helping to turn countless sports stars, including Tiger Woods, into
household names and commercial spokespeople.
IMG's broadcast division, TWI, claims to be the largest independent sports
programming producer in the world, with 4,000 hours of original programming
Among many other credits, it manages the Olympic Games archive, has a hand in
production of The Skins Game and produces international sports for ESPN and
Cable News Network. TWI is also a major distributor of figure-skating programming
McCormack was a Chicago native and graduate of the College of William &
Mary in Virginia, where he was a top-flight golfer.
Armed with a law degree from Yale University, McCormack was a lawyer with Arter &
Hadden in Chicago when he launched his athlete-representation firm in 1960.
Wanting to combine his legal training with his love of golf, he started the
business on a "handshake" with a golfer he had met while in college, Arnold
Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus soon signed on.
IMG would eventually also represent actors, models and others, and branch out
into numerous related enterprises.
McCormack is survived by his wife, tennis pro and TV commentator Betsy
Nagelsen, and four children, three of whom are executives with IMG.