Johnathan Thurston and Denis Handlin

Johnathan Thurston and Denis Handlin

Sony Music Australia is playing a whole new ball game with the signing of rugby league legends Johnathan “JT” Thurston and Andrew “Joey” Johns in a further expansion of its management business.

Thurston, a living legend of league who is regarded as the greatest player in the game right now, has signed an exclusive brand ambassador agreement with Sony Music Entertainment.  Under the agreement, announced this week, Thurston will represent Sony Music, along with its artists, live events and other activities.  

Also, Sony Music’s Parade Sports Management, a division of the Talentworks Parade joint venture, will work with Thurston’s management, Sam Ayoub of Ultra Management, in sourcing endorsement and other commercial opportunities for the Queensland playmaker.

Separately, the retired Johns, recognized as one of the eight “Immortals” of the code, has signed a worldwide management representation agreement with the company, under which, Parade Sports will exclusively manage all aspects of his coaching, endorsement, media, speaking and other business opportunities.

Denis Handlin, chairman & CEO, Sony Music Entertainment Australia & New Zealand and president, Asia and director of Parade Sports, has a strong association with sports, including serving as a mentor of the Queensland State of Origin rugby league squad for over a decade.

“We are delighted at the opportunity to work with both JT and Joey,” he says in a statement.  “JT has earnt the admiration of the rugby league community and sporting world as one of the greatest players ever.” On Johns, the former New South Wales and Newcastle Knights star, he said, “We are delighted to now have the opportunity to assist him extend his media career as well as commercial opportunities, such as in the corporate area where he can provide valuable insights into leadership and team work.”

The double play was announced ahead of this Sunday’s (Oct. 1) National Rugby League (NRL) grand final in Sydney, pitting Thurston’s North Queensland Cowboys against the Melbourne Storm. Thurston is a rank outsider to play as he recovers from surgery to correct a shoulder injury he suffered in the State of Origin series earlier this year, which his team clinched in the deciding third game. 

Sony Music Australia's roster includes Jessica Mauboy, Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, Gang of Youths, Amy Shark, Tash Sultana, Peking Duk, Human Nature, Samantha Jade, Dami Im and Anthony Callea, and veterans John Farnham, Midnight Oil and Daryl Braithwaite. The music major's Talentworks Parade management guides the careers of a number of these artists.