HPM Group, LLC Release
A new catalyst has just been introduced to the MLR experiment. The “High Performance Management Group, LLC” agency (or, “HPM Group,”) was launched by partners Matthew Hughston, Anthony Parry, and Ryan Murphy on Friday, July 17th, 2020.
Hughston, Parry, and Murphy (HPM Group) have a focused mission of advancing the MLR — and the standard of American rugby, by prioritizing the development of the “entire” athlete. In addition to negotiating contracts and winning endorsements for their clients, the HMP crew offers a suite of holistic resources including diet and training programs, budget and finance advice, mental health check-ins, and even “non-rugby” professional coaching-reviewing resumes and arranging networking events.
What does a win look like? The typical perception of sports agents is that they define success by negotiating a big salary on the backs of their clients, take a percentage off the top, then wait around until contract renegotiation season returns. However, this is not the case with HPM, especially given the context of “top-down” power dynamics and limited cap space in the MLR. In reality, rescuing an athlete from a team where he feels undervalued, and delivering an opportunity to compete in a new position where he feels at home, is a huge victory. A win is getting him off of a couch in the crowded team house and into a comfortable dedicated bedroom. A win is shining a spotlight on a developing player who needed just a little more exposure and coaching to make it to the next level. Sometimes a win is your mate picking up the phone when you’re on the bubble for the 23-man roster after an unfortunate string of practices.
HPM Group’s founders are intimately familiar with these scenarios, and more. Hughston and Parry have been professional ruggers since its start in the US, competing together on teams in Ohio, New Orleans, New England, and New York. They have navigated every level of the changing landscape of rugby in the States and abroad, along with the associated growing pains and lessons learned. Hughston, friends with Murphy since their collegiate rivalry days in N.C., made the fateful introductions on the night of RUNY’s inaugural home opener at Coney Island. At the time, Murphy was a corporate lobbyist in D.C., calling on his legal advocacy and business advising experience to negotiate contracts for both startups and blue-chip companies. Further, Murphy was already informally engaged in the work of connecting the dots among his personal contacts to find athletes’ homes in the MLR. As for Parry, he is a stalwart of the NY rugby community, playing for NYAC since 2016; professionally, he boasts a successful track record in marketing, promoting various startups and niche business entities around the U.S. and in Europe. Similarly, Hughston is the unofficial ambassador of USA Rugby South, with close connections throughout the region; his professional experience includes forensic banking investigations, training and nutrition coaching, and utilizing his staggering good looks to complement various sales and marketing endeavors. On that night in March 2019, the would-be partners instantly realized a shared passion to repurpose their athletic experience, business acumen, and longstanding relationships in the rugby community to improve the MLR’s quality of competition and professionalism through supporting the sport’s most valuable assets: its athletes.
With the unveiling of HPM Group, the three competitors-turned-consultants have officially undertaken their mission to raise the standard of the MLR through assisting its athletes — ranging “from potential to professional” — in navigating the realities of a burgeoning professional sports league.
HPM has identified the following key areas of success for MLR athletes:
Creating Pathways from Amateur to Professional
HPM utilizes personal relationships with MLR teams and other top clubs around the country that are actively recruiting professional players for fall seasons. HPM will generate exposure for potential MLR players through marketing channels while also providing the tools necessary for clients to outperform their peers on the field.
* HPM identifies and engages with MLR’s preferred pathways (e.g., MLR Academies, local unions) to place athletes on regional select sides and exhibition teams, increasing clients’ experience and exposure to higher-level domestic competition.
* HPM creates player portfolios and publishes media packages highlighting each athlete’s value using relevant KPI data and game film.
* HPM provides clients with access to superior quality athletic performance plans. This includes sport-specific skills, mental, nutritional, and physical aspects of athletic performance. HPM empowers its athletes to accomplish their physical, technical, and tactical objectives.
Pro rugby is a 24/7 undertaking. However, professional rugby compensation in the U.S. is limited because of the MLR’s salary cap; this is especially true for U.S. citizens. For this reason, building viable career skills while simultaneously playing rugby full-time is imperative for athletes seeking “non-rugby” occupations when their days on the pitch are done.
* HPM assists its clients with sourcing opportunities outside of rugby so their careers are not put on hold while maintaining the schedule of a professional athlete.
In many cases, athletes don’t have advanced professional business experience, yet they are tasked with negotiating the terms of their own contracts directly with GM’s and coaches. As with many industries, conversations surrounding compensation and contracts can be tough. HPM provides professional negotiating expertise to relieve the anxiety many players feel when brokering their own contracts.
Multiple Revenue Streams, Marketing and Promotion
HPM creates multiple revenue streams for athletes by seeking paid sponsorships, promotional opportunities, and coaching jobs for its roster of clients. So far, these opportunities have been limited for US rugby athletes, but they are key components of professional sports.
* HPM increases its clients’ options for athletic-based revenue streams by cultivating strategic partnerships and branding on behalf of athletes.
One Team, One Mission
It is challenging for athletes to achieve MLR success while also maintaining consistent career growth. HPM offers support and solutions for clients interested in maximizing their athletic potential and simultaneously building careers outside of rugby.
* Currently, HPM has a number of top-tier, proven MLR players who have joined their team in its mission to elevate professional rugby in the USA.
Signing announcements and information about strategic partnerships are forthcoming via HPM Group’s social media outlets in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more!
For inquiries contact:
Matt Hughston, Anthony Parry, and Ryan Murphy have shown that there can be life after rugby. All three are involved in the sport currently, but their emphasis is evolving as they transition to when they will no longer play or coach.
Ryan Murphy – Resume
Ryan has had an extensive background in rugby playing as a back row at Appalachian State University, the Lichtenstein Lynx, Fort Bragg, Atlanta Renegades, Chapel Hill Warriors (Now Tobacco Road Warriors), the Denver Barbarians, and NOVA. He has also coached at NOVA and at the Bell Multicultural High School in D.C.
After graduating from Appalachian State University with a BSBA in Marketing, he earned a J.D. from North Carolina Central School of Law. He has worked as a U.S. House of Representatives Caseworker, been a Licensed attorney in Denver, CO, a Government Relations Manager, and is the President/Founder of Fortis 26, LLC, a business consulting entity in Fayetteville, NC.