Profits dip at Rory McIlroy’s former sports agency

Accumulated profits at the sports agency that had an acrimonious break-up with golf superstar Rory McIlroy have dipped by over €100,000.

Accounts filed by Horizon Sports Management Ltd show that accumulated profits fell by €105,843, from €450,021 to €344,178, in the 12 months to the end of June.

Profits had soared by €110,857 in the prior 18-month period. Its cash pile fell sharply, from €479,446 to €132,014, last year.

The firm, which is led by Conor Ridge, hit some sort of jackpot through its break-up with Mr McIlroy when an-out-of-court agreement in Dublin in February last year led to Horizon Sports getting a reported €21.8m from the golfer.

Well-known sports stars on its books include golfer Shane Lowry and Munster rugby captain Peter O’Mahony.

During its time with Mr McIlroy, Horizon negotiated his reported $20m (€17.8m)-a-year deal with Nike.

The abridged accounts — signed off on April 28 — make no reference to the falling out with Mr McIlroy, or to the subsequent out-of-court settlement. They also do not disclose revenues or salaries.

The court dispute was teed up to disclose arguments over tens of millions of dollars in lost commissions and earnings from potentially massive sponsorship deals and victories on courses.

The golf star claimed the terms he signed were inferior to those given to other top 10 players, including Graeme McDowell, who was in the same stable at the time. Horizon was established in 2005 in a Ballsbridge basement.

Mr Ridge, a commerce graduate from UCD with a master’s degree in marketing from the Smurfit Business School, remortgaged his house to get the business up and running.

After Mr McIlroy ended his relationship with Horizon, he set up his own sports firm, Rory McIlroy Management Services Ltd.

The first set of accounts lodged by that firm placed a whopping book value of €400m on assets associated with the golfer’s brand.

Mr McIlroy’s company manages all the royalty payments of his various endorsements, from Nike sportswear to Omega watches, Bose, Upper Deck, as well as computer games — he is the face of EA Sports’ Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, replacing Tiger Woods as the titular cover star.


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