SBD/August 27, 2012/Labor and Agents

Djokovic Leaves CAA Sports, Says It Was Time "To Move On"

CAA Sports will continue to receive commission on racket, apparel deals
Tennis player Novak Djokovic has “ended his relationship with CAA Sports and is shopping for new representation,” according to Daniel Kaplan of the SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Djokovic said, “I ended that contract; I am without an agency at the moment. … A transition period is kind of going on right now. I have had a contract with I think (CAA) for four years. … I tried to work it out, and it was successful, but I think I needed to move on.” Many tennis insiders believe Djokovic “will land at IMG.” Kaplan noted fellow players Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer “boast lucrative endorsement portfolios, almost all of which, if not entirely, were negotiated by IMG.” Djokovic, however, “has not found the same market for non-endemic endorsements as Nadal and Federer, and it’s uncertain if new representation could change that.” Two of his largest endemic deals, “racket and apparel, were handled by CAA Sports, and the agency will continue to receive those commissions going forward.” A source said that his apparel deal with Japanese company Uniqlo, “which was announced in May, is for the next five years; his Head racket deal goes for three more years.” Djokovic said, “I am ending most of my contracts that I had from previous years and now I am actually negotiating with many companies for the future” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/27 issue).

RIGHT HAND MAN: In N.Y., Peter Lattman writes no task “is too menial” for IMG agent Max Eisenbud when it comes to his “prized client” Maria Sharapova, who Eisenbud has represented since she was 12. WTA CMO Andrew Walker said, “You could fairly say that Max and Maria have the most successful agent-player relationship in the history of the game.” Lattman notes despite having “earned millions of dollars meticulously managing Sharapova’s career,” Eisenbud “prefers to stay behind the scenes.” Though Sharapova “started turning heads at 13 with strong performances on the international junior circuit, Eisenbud resisted smaller sponsorship deals.” Instead, “confident of bigger offers to come, he primed the IMG sales force … by sending continual updates on her progress.” And in ‘04, when Sharapova “won Wimbledon at 17, companies were tripping over one another to sign her” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/27).
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