Osaka leaves IMG to form own sports agency

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Naomi Osaka has left IMG to start her own agency, she told Sportico.

Osaka’s sports agency, Evolve, will be stylized in all capital letters as EVOLVE. She is forming the agency with agent Stuart Duguid, who also is leaving IMG.

Osaka’s contract with IMG expired at the end of last year and talks of renewing the deal were unfruitful.

“I’ve spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn’t what was expected or traditional,” the 24-year-old Osaka told Sportico in an email. “Evolve is the natural next step in my journey as both an athlete and businesswoman, as well as a way to continue being myself and doing things my way.”

Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, told Sportico: “I strongly believe in the power athletes have to use our platforms to drive meaningful business.”

She is ranked 20th on Sportico’s 2022 list of the world’s highest-paid athletes with prize money and endorsements totaling $53.2 million and is the top earner among women on Sportico’s list. According to Sportico, Osaka has equity in approximately 12 brands. She also founded Kinlo, a skincare company, and has her own swimwear and sleepwear lines.

Duguid, who along with Osaka will have an equity stake in Evolve, told Sportico in a telephone interview that the agency will likely only consider adding a few clients. He and Osaka will invest in businesses together, he said.

“The core of Evolve is building Naomi’s business from $50 million a year to $150 million a year,” Duguid told the website.

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