Shot Callers: Adi Kunalic, Co-Founder, opendorse

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(opendorse is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

The rise of social media has allowed athletes to tell their own stories and build their personal brands as well as that of their team or league. For years, however, access to high quality content captured by the team or league was limited for the athletes. Thanks to tools like opendorse, founded by Adi Kunalic and Blake Lawrence in 2012, the process is now much more streamlined.

Kunalic sat down with Front Office Sports’ Ian Thomas to discuss the launch of opendorse’s latest product update, the state of athlete-driven media, the company’s overall success, and more.

Edited highlights appear below:

On the latest opendorse update and the direction of the company (0:14)

Kunalic: “It’s been something that we’ve been working on for probably the last 18 months. It’s a culmination of everything that our partners have wanted, needed, requested from us in the last two years. It’s been super exciting. I think it’s going to be a really cool thing as we go into this new world of serving all of our property brands and lead partners with our solution, but also with the team that we have.”

SEE MORE: opendorse Further Streamlines Content Marketing With New Update

On the secret to opendorse’s growth as a company (0:52)

Kunalic: “I don’t know if there’s a secret sauce. I would say that I have a solid friendship with my co-founder, Blake Lawrence. So me and him have been fortunate enough to start a company before opendorse. And so kind of going through that journey and just honestly like knowing each other for 10 plus years and being in business now together for nine plus years has allowed us to do a lot of things the way that we want to. And then because we have such a good relationship we are very much on the same path and it has allowed us to really surround ourselves with great people…so I think we’ve benefited from being aligned on what that means and what it can do for our company and then also hiring around it the right way.”

On what is pushing sports properties to use a product like opendorse to help athletes build their own brands (2:34)

Kunalic: “I think what a lot of people are realizing, and this is something that we’ve been preaching for a long time and the market is catching up to it, is that at the core center of all sports, whether it’s team driven or brand driven or response driven, is the athlete. The thing that’s made it very difficult for people to involve athletes in the past has been accessibility and reliability. Having technology certainly addresses those points. I feel that very much the future of where we feel like things are going…athletes wanting to be more involved. having a tool to be able to execute on that is really what brings lot of these leagues and brands and teams to say, let’s utilize our players. Let’s help them build our brand but also build their brands.”

SEE MORE: Shot Callers: Mike Greenberg, Host, ESPN

On being able to analyze the marketing space for the good of their clients (5:45)

Kunalic: “I think we still live in a world where you have two types of marketers. You have ones who are innately good at social media. You and I can be sitting here right now and they’re banging out a tweet just that quickly. That’s how they react. They’re very proactive in communicating. Certainly those people who are using our tool have success. But then there’s the other marketers who…maybe more so on the owning the performance and the responsibility of growing sub channels and whatnot, who are a little bit more calculated in their approach. So I think it’s just understanding that those are both strengths. To have an understanding how you can leverage tools to allow yourself to scale your abilities. That’s something that we continue to analyze and say, ‘hey, let’s build tools for both parties’ and ‘let’s make their lives easier’ from sharing content to tracking content and its performance.”