Power Forward Sports Group is a consultancy specializing in player advocacy and sports marketing.
Luke Bonner is a leading voice in the nation when it comes to college athlete rights. He has been working to empower athletes throughout his career. The youngest of three Division I basketball playing siblings, Bonner maintains a unique perspective of the college athletics landscape. He co-founded the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) in 2014, advocating for better treatment and increased power for college athletes. He continues to write articles on the subject for publications including VICE and has been a featured guest speaker on the subject at SXSW, NPR and several universities and law schools.
When it comes to player advocacy, Bonner is available as a guest speaker or adviser on:
- Athlete Empowerment
- Athlete Mobilization and Organization
- Professional Development and Career Transition
Following a basketball playing career spanning from grassroots to the collegiate and professional levels, Luke Bonner transitioned into a digital marketing career. With lengthy experience at one of the top advertising agencies in the country and a masters degree from the University of Massachusetts Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management, Bonner started Power Forward Sports Group as a way to help companies, athletes, universities and agencies navigate the world of sports. Bonner has worked on projects with major brands including: Bleacher Report, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, adidas, ESPN, The Basketball Tournament, Lululemon and more.
Pairing an institutional knowledge of the global sports landscape with marketing expertise, Power Forward Sports Group specializes in the following areas of sports marketing: Strategy, Business Navigation, Events, and Media.
Whether a tech company, sneaker brand or professional league, the best crafted marketing strategy can miss the mark without a thorough understanding of the nuance within your sport. Power Forward Sports Group offers strategic support to help companies avoid unforeseen pitfalls within their targeted sport and maximize ROI.
Leveraging a presence in the sports world is a great way to connect with potential consumers, but it can be an overwhelming place to play with all of today’s options. We’re here to help you navigate the space and advise on the best options for your brand.
With years of experience operating festivals, all-star parties and more, we understand that events require an abundance of time and resources to execute. It’s also easy for early planning to get put on the back-burner when you’re tied up with more immediate projects. We’re happy to augment your team to ensure your event comes together in a timely, stress free and successful manner.
Just as there are endless options for partnerships with teams, leagues and athletes, sports media is also an ever-evolving space. We are embedded in this world and can help train and advise on best practices in this space.
Ball is life. Seriously.
The youngest of three blue chip basketball playing siblings, Luke Bonner grew up traveling the country for tournaments and All-American camps. He was exposed to the world of high major college basketball before entering middle school. His first letter from a college arrived when he was just a sixth grader in Concord, NH. It was from the University of North Carolina. That letter served as fuel for him to dedicate his life to basketball.
Bonner went on to follow in his brother and sister’s foot-steps, earning a Division I basketball scholarship. Following a magical freshman year at West Virginia University where his team fell a point shy of reaching the Final Four, Bonner transferred back to New England and finished out his college career at UMass.
While at UMass, Bonner graduated in three-years and enrolled in the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management graduate program. He was especially drawn into courses on sports labor law, college athletics and sports marketing. Throughout this time, he was actively advocating for college athletes through the National Collegiate Players Association.
Chasing the Dream
Upon completion of the graduate program, Bonner pursued a professional playing career. His first gig was in Székesfehérvár, Hungary. He then played in the NBA Developmental League for the Austin Toros before returning to Europe for a couple seasons in Lithuania. He ultimately returned back to Austin to wrap up his playing career.
Throughout his playing career, Bonner served as a regular contributor and editor for the creative writing website Flip Collective. He also ran annual benefit concerts back in his home state of New Hampshire and continued to advocate for college athletes.
After moving away from basketball as a player, Bonner founded the Rock On Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes wellness and creativity through the arts and athletics. He also landed a full-time gig at a top-level advertising agency, GYK Antler. At GYK Antler, he served on the business development team, ultimately moving into a lead role as the agency’s Brand Marketing Executive. Throughout his tenure, the agency has grown from 40 employees to nearly one hundred, doubling in revenue along the way as well.
Additionally, Bonner emerged as a leading voice as an advocate for college athletes. In 2014, Bonner co-founded the College Athletes Players Association and helped the Northwestern University football team’s historic unionization attempt.
Bonner has stayed involved with basketball by launching Rock On’s flagship annual fundraising event in 2014 at NBA All-Star Weekend. The event has sold out every year since and is one of the marquee happenings at All-Star Weekend–featuring artists including Girl Talk, Hannibal Buress, The Hold Steady, Michael Che, The Walkmen, BADBADNOTGOOD and more. He also runs Bonner Basketball Camp, one of the most popular basketball camps in the Northeast, and plays in Arcade Fire’s bi-annual Pop vs Jock Celebrity Basketball game in Montreal.
A marketing specialist with an intimate understanding of the sports landscape, Bonner has published articles for VICE, Complex and Mashable. He’s also been a featured guest speaker for SXSW, NPR, Harvard Law School, Al Jazeera, Comcast Sports, NBA TV, Drexel University, Wake Forest University, UMass and UNH Law School. His commentary has also been featured in publications including Fast Company, Elle Magazine, Digiday, Mashable, CNBC, The Rolling Stone, ESPN, The Boston Globe and more.
Bonner has melded his expertise and passion for player advocacy and marketing to help athletes, companies, academic institutions and leagues through Power Forward Sports Group.
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“Luke Bonner is extremely knowledgable about the business of sports, technology and advertising and he presents information in a very organized and insightful manner. If we had a Hall of Fame of Guest Speakers, Luke would surely be in it.”
Sports Illustrated Legal Analyst / UNH Law Sports and Entertainment Law
“Having Luke Bonner tell his story and work with our graduate and undergraduate students was an eye opening experience for them. He engaged them immediately through his great skill at storytelling. It was amazing to see these students grapple with the issues that Luke brought up. If you get a chance, have Luke speak for your school or organization. Learn from him, discuss with him and take action with him.”
Wake Forest University Director of MA in Sports Storytelling / Academy Award Nominated, Emmy Winning Cinematographer