SBD/Issue 90/Sports Industrialists

Wasserman Acquires Tellem Business; SFX Promotes Pelinka

WMG Chair & CEO Casey Wasserman
By Liz Mullen, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal

Wasserman Media Group has acquired the NBA and MLB player representation practices of veteran agent and former SFX Sports CEO ARN TELLEM, who will become the President of WMG Management as part of the deal. Tellem, considered one of the most powerful agents in sports, had announced last year that he was exercising an option to buy out of his contract at SFX Sports and was in talks with a number of investors about a business partnership. “For me, I had the opportunity to evaluate many people and this was my first choice from the very beginning,” Tellem said. WMG Chair & CEO CASEY WASSERMAN “has an intense passion to compete in the sports and entertainment field and be on the cutting edge in this business. I thought he would be the ideal partner for me because that is very much what I wanted to do,” Tellem said.

CLIENT BASE: Tellem will bring with him to WMG a client base of about 50 NBA and 50 MLB clients, including JASON GIAMBI, HIDEKI MATSUI, NOMAR GARCIAPARRA, BARRY ZITO, TRACY MCGRADY, JERMAINE O'NEAL and PAU GASOL. Tellem will bring his team of agents, including BOB MYERS, JOEL WOLFE, THAD FOUCHER and JEFF WERNICK with him to WMG. The one major agent Tellem will not be bringing is ROB PELINKA, who represents about ten NBA players, including NBA superstar KOBE BRYANT. Wasserman, asked about Pelinka and Bryant’s absence from the deal, said, “It is safe to say that if I wanted Rob Pelinka and his clients to be part of this acquisition they would have been. This was not an accident.” Pelinka could not immediately be reached for comment.

PELINKA PROMOTED: Meanwhile, SFX Sports Group announced that it has promoted Pelinka to the position of President SFX Basketball L.A. Pelinka was the only agent in that office who did not follow Tellem to WMG. In addition to Bryant, Pelinka represents a number of NBA players, including CARLOS BOOZER, CHANNING FRYE, ANDRE IGUODALA, CHRIS KAMAN, COREY MAGGETTE, MORRIS PETERSON and GERALD WALLACE. DANIEL ROSIER, COO of SFX Sports Group, said in a statement: “Rob has a proven ability to successfully recruit and represent players while managing and growing his business. We have no doubt that he will continue to grow our basketball practice in a way that will ensure it remains one of the elite sports agencies in our industry.”

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