Roc Nation Sports International has acquired Brazilian organization TFM, the soccer agency representing Vinicius Jr, Gabriel Martinelli, and Endrick.
Roc Nation Sports International has acquired TFM, demonstrating a major future commitment to soccer, the company confirmed Friday. The Brazil-based athlete agency represents global superstars like Real Madrid wing Vinicius Junior, Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli, and Real Madrid wunderkind prospect Endrick.
Roc Nation launched a soccer division in 2019, with executive Michel Yormark moving to London for the role. Current international football clients include Manchester City superstar Kevin De Bruyne, Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku, and US international Chris Richards. The TFM acquisition creates a full service agency in one of the most talent-rich regions in the world for soccer. Roc will open a Brazilian office headed by TFM founder Frederico Pena and joined in São Paolo by his partners and vice presidents Marcos Casseb, Lucas Mineiro, Renato Martinez, Octavio Rigoni, and Thiago Freitas.
The price of the sale was not disclosed.
“We felt that strategically it was a place we needed to be,” Yormark told Boardroom about Brazil’s appeal as a soccer market. “And we also wanted to align with a company that shared our vision, mission, and values as an organization. And clearly, the talent that they had was very attractive.”
Vinicius Jr. is 22 and poised to be Madrid’s top player for years to come, tied for the third-most valuable player in the world on Transfermarkt behind Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland. He’s already incredibly popular on social media, with 34 million followers on Instagram, 12 million on Facebook, and 6.4 million on Twitter.
“The potential of Vini’s upside is enormous,” Yormark said. “And while he has a huge following in Brazil and obviously a following here in Europe, the market that he’s really interested in — and he has a big passion for — is America.”
Yormark sees the US market leading into the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup as an opportunity to build Vinicius’s brand and make him more relevant Stateside, where he spends some time during the offseason. Adding to TFM’s ability to scout, sign, and develop talent, Roc Nation is hopeful that as strategic partners it can help the players grow more relevant around the world with a 360-degree approach — something Yormark said was not one of the Brazilian agency’s core competencies.
“In terms of football, Brazil is the centre of it all,” Juan Perez, Roc Nation Sports’ President and founder, said on the occasion. “I strongly identify with a culture that has such an incredible passion for sport and music. Our influence in this game is growing and this move shows our intentions to the world.”
While the 21-year-old Martinelli is an impressive player in his own right, the fourth-most valuable player per Transfermarkt on a strong, generally ascendant Arsenal squad, his potential pales in comparison to Endrick’s. The 16-year-old forward will head to Real Madrid from Brazilian club Palmeiras when he turns 18 in July 2024 for a reported €72 million fee. Marketing the world’s top soccer prospect in some time was something that greatly appealed to Yormark and Roc Nation.
“We kind of look at him as the LeBron James of football,” Yormark said. “If we all go back and remember LeBron being on ESPN in high school and being a household name before he ever stepped on an NBA court, we think that the same applies to Endrick. We want to build his brand not only in Brazil, but all over the world.”
Responsibly marketing a 16 year-old, regardless of that person’s talent and abilities, will be a strategic, slow build that won’t happen overnight. Developing and focusing on the pitch will be Endrick’s most important priority, but Yormark said that he’s interested in building his international brand, becoming globally relevant, and creating opportunities for himself. It’s a challenge that Yormark said Roc Nation is excited to take on.
At some point, Roc Nation Sports will look at other football markets around the world, but at its own strategic pace.
“For us, it’s not about becoming the biggest,” Yormark said. “It’s about offering a high level of service and developing an infrastructure that can allow all of our athletes to achieve all their life goals and objectives. So we want to become the best, and we want to represent the best footballers in the world. So when those opportunities arise, we’re going to take advantage of them.”
Want More Soccer?
The race is on for the world’s biggest prize in club sports. Check out the latest 2024 UEFA Champions League odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. POST LAST UPDATED: NOV. 28, 2023 On Saturday, June 1,…
With NWSL free agents nearly ready to put ink to paper, Boardroom is here to help you track who is going where….