David Falk serves as the Chairman and CEO of SFX Sports Group. The 50-year old sports attorney has worked contracts for Michael Jordan, Alonzo Morning and James Lofton. During his career, Falk has aligned his athletes with companies ranging from the likes of Nike, Gatorade, McDonald’s and AT&T.
When David Falk went to college, he knew what he wanted to do. He knew from day one that he wanted to be a sports attorney and get into sports representation while he was at the George Washington University Law School.
And thanks to a recipe of perseverance and assertiveness, he has grown into arguably the most famous sports agent in the business.
It was at college that he met Larry Fleisher (former head of NBA Players Association) and Bob Woolf (who represented Larry Bird at the time) who suggested that he contact sports attorney Donald Dell. After several attempts to contact him, he got an interview with his firm, which, at the time represented just about every athlete ranging from Arthur Ashe to Carl Yastrzemski. He started to work for them at night for free, after he finished his day job at Sidley & Austin. Falk worked for Dell for a summer, hoping for a job when he graduated from law school in 1975. Dell eventually offered him a job when he graduated with a starting salary of $13,000 a year as a lawyer.
He stayed there until 1991. “In the time I was there, I went from an unpaid gopher to president of the company,” Falk said.
In 1992, he left the firm and went on his own. But unlike the character in the movie Jerry Maguire who only took one client with him, Falk kept all 40 he had. Then, in 1997, he was approached by SFX Entertainment Chairman Bob Sillerman about selling his firm to SFX. While Falk wasn’t looking to sell, Sillerman was persuasive and Falk accepted an offer that he couldn’t refuse.
For Falk, working in the sports business has been a joy that was instilled in him from a young age.
“It’s something that my mom passed along to me. It’s always: Shoot for the stars and never settle for second best,” Falk said. “I tell my daughters this now. To me, satisfaction is in trying to be the best you can be. Im a highly self-motivated person. I’m also a big believer that the way you treat people is going to last long-term.”
While listening to mom has obviously paid off for Falk, he also learned the value of not being enamored by the athletes and focus on the tasks at hand.
“When I first began in the business, I was thrilled to meet people like Ashe and Stan Smith,” Falk said. “I’m a big fan of the people I work for, but it would be impossible to function at my job if I was star-struck.”
While the past has provided Falk a lifetime of experiences that any sports executive would envy, he still has plans to move forward. A trip to Germany will increase his presence in Europe. In addition, Falk has aspirations to grow internationally. Grow his golf division. “Golf is a good growth area for us and we’re going to be very aggressive in it,” Falk said. “I’m also looking to enjoy the clients I have developed and work with the up-in-comers in the field.”
Looking back, Falk has simple advice for people trying to get into the business.
“People feel you have to play a role. I think you just have to be yourself. You have to be genuine. Be honest and sincere,” Falk said.