For Range Sports’ Will Funk, sport runs in the family

want funk grew up around NBA players. As a kid, he was a ball boy for the Philadelphia 76ers. His father, Neil Funkwas the play-by-play announcer for the 76ers in the days of Dr. J and the voice of the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan Championship years in the ’90s.

As a child, Will watched his father work hard. “When we were in Chicago, he got all three major newspapers and read every single article about the team,” Will Funk said. His father would come to games two to three hours early to look at player notes.


After calling the game, Neil Funk traveled with the team. “It’s a drudgery, too,” Will said. “They play a game, they get on a plane, they get on a charter. They leave the arena at midnight and end up in another city at 2:30 a.m..”

“I have such great respect for talent,” Will said. “They make it look easy, but it’s hard.”

The younger Funk’s many years of deep understanding of sports talents can be of great benefit to him in his new role as President field of sportsthe startup sports division of Media partners area which was launched this summer.

Range Media, a Hollywood talent management company and production company, was founded by Ex in September 2020 Agency for creative artists agent Peter Micelli and several other CAA, WME and UTA agents.

Range Media manages about 500 writers, directors and actors, including Bradley Cooper, Emily Clark, Benicio del Toro, Anna Kendrick, Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, Michael Bay and M. Night Shyamalan. Because it is a management company and not a talent agency, it can produce films, television and streaming programs, and other content under California law, unlike talent agencies.

New York Mets owners Steve Cohen is an investor in Range Media, so Range Sports will not represent baseball players, Will Funk said. “Football is really where we are concentrating right now. We’re going to focus on the coaching business and then look at the player business.”

Earlier this month, Range Sports announced it had hired an NFL coaching agent Richmond flowers as president of football and coach. Flowers represents about 60 NFL coaches, including four head coaches.

Contract work is just part of what Range Sports has in mind for sports talent clients. The company will focus on building businesses around customers, including content creation.

Will Funk’s father, Neil Funk (shown with current Chicago Bulls lead commentator Stacey King) ap images

Funk spent 21 years at Turner Sports where he was responsible for generating sponsorship revenue for the NBA on TNT, March Madness and the NCAA, MLB on TBS, NHL on TNT and other WarnerMedia Sports assets. He was Executive Vice President at Turner Sports before joining Range Sports.

Prior to Turner Sports, Funk worked at the NBA, where he was senior director of global media programming. He began his career at MSG and was hired by the then New York Knicks general manager and former player Ernie Grunfeld. The Funk family has known the Grunfeld family since Will was a kid and Grunfeld was a player for the then-Kansas City (later Sacramento) Kings. Neil Funk was the play-by-play man for the Kansas City Kings.

“Ernie and his wife and kids lived a few blocks from us in Kansas City,” said Neil Funk. “So many times I pulled into the driveway and Ernie was there shooting baskets with William and the other neighborhood kids.”

After Will graduated from college, he called Grunfeld, who offered him a menial job in sales.

“They put me in a room with the three Knicks scouts at a table and a chair,” recalls Will Funk. “And they said, ‘What is this kid doing here?’ And I would call people on the phone to see if they want to be a sponsor.”

It was the mid-1990s and Will was reading a newspaper article about Target’s plans to open his first store in New York, in Manhattan. Will picked up the phone and called the dealer. He asked the Target official, “Would you like to get involved with the Knicks? Nobody knows Target in New York City,” Will said. “So that’s how I did it. And that was my first deal.”

It was around 1996 and Will Funk was around 24 years old.

Neil Funk recalled that when he started out as a play-by-play announcer, he worked at small radio stations where talent was expected to sell commercials, which he wasn’t particularly good at.

“William, on the other hand, wasn’t afraid to talk to the CEO of Target or whoever,” said Neil Funk. “William has learned to accept ‘no’ and not get upset about it. Because if you’re in this business, you probably hear ‘no’ more often than ‘yes’.”

Neil said he is proud of what his son has achieved at Turner and throughout his career. But now he’s even prouder of him. “It’s almost like a fresh start,” he said. “He wanted to be his own type. For me, that showed a certain steadfastness.”

Liz Mullen can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.


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