Written by Jen Barnett

There’s nothing more competitive than the start-up environment, where 80 percent of entrepreneurs fail in the first 18 months. Local sports marketing firm Knight Eady has already been around twice that long with a business model that thrives on rivalry and drive. The energetic group of marketers and event consultants has been involved with dozens of high-profile events for high school and college athletes, like the Vulcan Classic, the 2017 National Senior Games and the Steel City Invitational, and corporate athletic competitions, like the Birmingham Corporate Challenge presented by St. Vincent’s.

These events require coordination on a massive scale to produce the vibrant atmosphere you expect at a successful tournament, from graphic design, media coverage and signage to venues, staging and music. Their attention to detail hasn’t gone unnoticed by major players in the industry, including ESPN and the SEC.

Founders David Knight and Michael Eady speak of their work as creating experiences—a concept that applies to their culture. One of their core values reads, “Create an Engaging and Contagious Work Environment.” They believe that fun and humor in the workplace keeps employees engaged, joyful, interested, and passionate.

Their clients seem to agree, renewing events year after year.


1. What’s your elevator pitch?

Knight Eady is a sports marketing firm that specializes in event management, PR, experiential marketing and advertising. We commit to providing platforms for student-athletes, competitors and sports enthusiasts to have unforgettable and unique experiences through athletic competition. We aim to reenergize brands by cultivating engaging relationships through sports. Knight Eady is able to do this by delivering quality, consistency, cost-efficient and creative services while applying our core values to radically exceed expectations.

2. What’s your value proposition?

Knight Eady is unique in that we are a young, energetic company full of passionate people who are excited to use sports as a way to immerse fans, coaches, consumers and sponsors in an experience they’ll talk about. We are deliberate about every touch point that a consumer has at events that we are involved in. We measure our success based on the success of our partners and choose to do business with organizations that we believe in and resonate with.


3. Tell me about your personal experience.

We started Knight Eady in June of 2013. David had 10 years of experience working with the Southeastern Conference overseeing various championships and ticket sales upon receiving his Masters in Sports. Michael gained his previous nine years of work experience at Martin Advertising Agency as well as at the Colonnade Group working with universities, conferences and brands across the country to create fan experiences and manage hospitality and premium seating.

4. How did you get the idea to launch Knight Eady?

We met in college and remained colleagues and friends throughout our early careers. We each shared a desire to take a risk and start our own sports-marketing and event-management group that would bring high-caliber events to the community, state and nation, while making an impact on young athletes. We understood that sports has the ability to transform people’s lives and wanted to use that platform to strengthen brands and create remarkable experiences.


5. Why now? Why Birmingham?

We are both Birmingham natives and wanted to start a business that would create an impact on the city where we live and are raising our families. We saw a vision for creating new events for the city and state and also for working with sports properties on existing events and projects to elevate the experiences for brands involved. Although we were both in arguably two of the best and most secure jobs in Birmingham, we felt that the time was right for us personally and professionally to come together as partners.

6. What are your competitive advantages?

Our greatest assets as a company are our people and our culture. Each individual brings a different strength, personality and energy to the team, which creates a dynamic work environment and allows us to produce the best services for our customers and partners because we value results and we value relationships.

From the beginning, we have intentionally placed a great emphasis on developing a positive work environment for our employees, which sets our young company apart. Our culture influences employee satisfaction and productivity, which enables our people to provide the best customer service for our clients and partners. Each of our employees is empowered to act as if they were the owner of the company.

January 17, 2016 - Elevate the Stage - Auburn vs Alabama - Gymnastics - BJCC - Birmingham, Alabama

January 17, 2016 – Elevate the Stage – Auburn vs Alabama – Gymnastics – BJCC – Birmingham, Alabama

7. Where do you want the company to be in five years?

Knight Eady wants to continue to partner with brands that believe in what we believe in and can get behind why we do what we do as a business. We feel that if we partner with brands that share similar beliefs, then we can both be successful. Although we want to continue to grow and create exceptional experiences through our event management services and enhance brands through our marketing and design services, we want to still operate with the same values and principles that make up the DNA of our company today.

We want to continue to attract the best talent to in turn enhance our culture. We would love for brands across the country to look to Knight Eady to help use sports to reach their target audience.

8. Who would you most like to connect with right now?

We’re big believers in storytelling and want to be able to connect with all different types of audiences through telling the Knight Eady story. People don’t remember facts. They remember stories. So the most powerful way to connect with someone is on an emotional level—evoking feelings and passions while using our skills as an organization to help a brand or person fulfill a dream or goal that they may have.