James Sullivan, principal with Las Vegas Agency, a Summerlin-based business, and longtime Summerlin resident, tells us more about the upcoming Battle for Vegas presented by Dollar Loan Center and hosted by Reilly Smith, now in its third year and returning to Las Vegas Ballpark on Monday, July 18. Battle for Vegas is a charity softball game that pits Knights vs. Raiders – all for a good cause. This year, the event benefits Communities In Schools of Nevada and Brad Garrett’s Maximum Hope Foundation. For more information and tickets, visit www.battleforvegas.com
Tell us about Las Vegas Agency and your work? How did you get involved in sports management?
James: Las Vegas Agency is a sports marketing agency representing a handful of Vegas Golden Knights and Las Vegas Raiders players on local events and activations. Las Vegas Agency was founded five years ago when the Golden Knights arrived in Vegas and our first client was Reilly Smith. We work with Reilly on local appearances and events, including creating the Battle for Vegas charity softball game, now in its third year.
I got involved in sports management 22 years ago while in law school. I interned for the Milwaukee Brewers during law school, which helped me land my first job as an intern at a sports agency in Minneapolis that represented pro golfers as well as NBA and NFL players. I learned the agency business from my current business partner, Brian Balsbaugh, who is also a Summerlin resident., and founder of Poker Royalty, a poker player management agency. While Las Vegas Agency is relatively new, our core poker business has been in Vegas for the past 17-years.
How did the idea of Battle for Vegas come about?
James: In 2017, the Golden Knights had just finished their first season making it to the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Raiders had just announced their move to Las Vegas. Las Vegas was the only city with two new professional sports teams, so we wanted to create an event that brought together all the fan favorites at one time for a fun, competitive game in a family-friendly environment such as the new Las Vegas Ballpark that had just opened in Downtown Summerlin. We had recently signed Reilly Smith as a client, and he was passionate about hosting a charity event to give back to the community that had been so good to him and his family. We pitched Reilly on the “Battle for Vegas” concept and the rest is history. Without Reilly’s commitment and support, this event wouldn’t have grown so quickly into what it is today.
What is the most rewarding thing about the event for you personally?
James: While the event is very fun and high profile, it’s most rewarding to raise money that we know will directly benefit families and children in the Las Vegas community. Reilly’s mission has always been to select charity partners that benefit the children of Las Vegas, and he is very hands-on in the charity selection process. Past recipients include organizations that support families and children dealing with pediatric cancer and autism, while this year’s beneficiaries focus on supporting families whose children are dealing with life-threatening illness, as well as education and dropout prevention support.