The next David Beckham: When Hollywood meets sport
December 20, 2013 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Peyton Manning's face is known around the world. The Denver Broncos quarterback is one of the biggest names in NFL and a key part of the IMG empire.
Ace in the pack
Know your face
- William Morris Endeavor seals deal to buy IMG
- Will see WME combine sport and entertainment
- Peyton Manning and Novak Djokovic amongst IMG clients
- WME represents Steven Spielberg and Denzel Washington
(CNN) -- The search is on for the next David Beckham.
In a dream match up, the talent agency which represents global superstars Oprah Winfrey, Matt Damon and Christian Bale has bought sports agency IMG, which deals with tennis ace Novak Djokovic and NFL star Peyton Manning.
The price of merging sport and entertainment is a reported $2.3 billion, paid by Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor and private equity partner Silver Lake.
"This has all come about with the process of sport morphing into entertainment," Simon Chadwick, Professor of Sport Business Strategy and Marketing at England's Coventry University, told CNN.
Maria Sharapova's taste for business
Secret to beating tennis' big four
Novak Djokovic wins the ATP World Tour final
"If you look at some of the sports personalities who are in the IMG portfolio then you realize they're not just sports stars. They are brands."
Chadwick believes this agency tie up is an attempt to create "brand longevity" for their clients.
"Take David Beckham, who is the perfect model for what agencies want from their brands," said Chadwick.
"He went from being a football player to a fashion icon, has moved on to being a sporting ambassador and now he's on the brink of becoming a franchise owner," added Chadwick, referring to Beckham's interest in bringing a new Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise to Miami..
"Beckham is like a template. It's all about the creativity and longevity of the brand and that's what Beckham has achieved."
According to figures reported by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the sports business is set to grow to around $68 billion by 2017 from $57 billion this year within North America -- an increase of about 5% per annum.
The acquisition will give William Morris all the rights to IMG's college sports business and a whole list of stellar names currently looked after by the agency including Justin Timberlake, Djokovic, Maria Sharapova and Taylor Swift.
"IMG has incredible strategic value to WME," said William Morris' co-CEOs Patrick Whitesell and Ariel Emanuel.
"The brand's global reach, outstanding management team and leadership across sports, fashion and media are a strong complement to our business."
WME, which represents Steven Spielberg and Denzel Washington, is now hoping to capitalize on the appeal of global sports stars such as Djokovic and Sharapova.
"I was somewhat concerned that IMG would be taken over by venture capitalists," added Chadwick.
"I think it's better in some ways that this kind of organization has taken them over.
"It is their core business; they know how sport operates and how it works."
Part of complete coverage on
Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 2048 GMT (0448 HKT)
From LeBron James in a mask to spectacular cycling crashes -- check out some of the best images from the sporting world.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
January 20, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
When the eye of the storm closes in most people head home -- but for these surfers it's a different story.
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 1445 GMT (2245 HKT)
Gareth Evans is a school teacher in South Africa. In 1983, he attended a "rebel tour" cricket match against the West Indies.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
In the wake of protests in his native Ukraine, heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has turned his back on boxing to focus on his political ambitions.
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
The Olympics must use its global reach and immense popularity to help save a generation, says sporting icon Sergei Bubka.
August 7, 2013 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
CNN's Fred Pleitgen exposes a history of German government-funded doping throughout the Cold War.
April 9, 2013 -- Updated 1628 GMT (0028 HKT)
A six-day run that covers more than 220 km through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert has been billed as the "World's toughest race."
April 10, 2013 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
He plays the only sport approved by the Taliban, a game he learned as a war refugee in Pakistan.
April 4, 2013 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
How do you like your sport? Blood, sweat, tears and a nailbiting finish, no doubt. But what about death?
April 5, 2013 -- Updated 0934 GMT (1734 HKT)
Disgraced doper Lance Armstrong's quest to take part in a swimming event in Texas appears to have been sunk before he's even hit the water.
Today's five most popular stories