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When it comes to haters and trolls surrounding women's sports, Dave Stark only has one thing to say.
“See you in five years.”
Cook Stark Management (CSM) is described by its founders, Dave Stark and Lander Cook, as an “elite female athlete agency.” It was born out of a love for sports, and a realization of how desperately needed an agency like this is in the women’s sports space.
Both founders connected on LinkedIn and immediately saw an opportunity to work with one another. Cook’s background in law paired with Stark’s sport management experience was the perfect combination to create CSM.
“I noticed super quickly that there's a gap in the market for representing female athletes at all levels,” said Cook. “I wanted to be that difference maker, and we're at a pivotal point right now in female sports.”
Before Cook Stark Management was formed, Cook created LDC Talent - an agency that has already gained some momentum in the women’s hockey space with about 20 athletes on their roster. One of those athletes is a recent Isobel Cup champion and professional hockey player for the Toronto Six, Taylor Woods.
Stark has also been creating a strong brand in the media space with The Athletes Podcast, a podcast interviewing a strong and diverse number of athletes at a one-to-one ratio of women and men.
With Stark stepping into the picture, the goal is to grow their roster of talent and expand outside of the hockey space.
“Frankly, athletes don't know what's out there and what's available to them,” said Stark. “At the end of the day, essentially what we're doing is introducing these athletes to what’s out there and showcase what they could be doing.”
CSM offers several different services to women’s athletes in all sports including career management, digital marketing, sponsorship opportunities, and brand consulting.
“We are committed to making sure that we not only grow our clientele, but we grow the game as well,” added Stark.
When it comes to reach, the numbers don’t lie, and both Cook and Stark believe the sky's the limit.
“Female posts on social media have like a 10 to 1 engagement rate compared to males,” said Stark. “That on its own is proof in the pudding that these athletes have a message, they have an incredible voice, and they have platforms that are very effective.”
This business of women’s sport is headed in one direction. Up.