SBD/July 15, 2013/Labor and Agents

The In Crowd: Athletes See Roc Nation Sports As Way To Enhance Their Image

Cano (r) is seen as the first big test for Jay-Z's sports agency
Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig and A’s LF Yoenis Cespedes are the latest athletes rumored to be possibly signing with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports, and the reason players want to and have signed with Roc Nation is "not to get a bigger contract,” but because it is “all about image,” according to SI's Ben Reiter. He said, “Jay-Z's cool. … You can have some no-name guy as your agent or you can have Jay-Z as your agent and get into cool parties and make the same amount of money. It's another smart move by Jay-Z." Reiter: “Business-wise I don’t know if it would have any impact whatsoever, especially for Puig, who let's remember is already signed to a seven-year contract.” Time magazine's Sean Gregory said Jay-Z has "talked about revolutionizing the business." That notion is “big talk, but that's what Jay-Z is all about" ("SI Now," SI.com, 7/11). ESPN’s Marcellus Wiley said it is a “no brainer” for Puig to sign with Roc Nation Sports because Jay-Z has “the Midas touch, everything he touches turns to gold.” Wiley added that Roc Nation is supported by CAA and that Jay-Z is “already supported by the best agency in the business, he’s just the marketing face, he’s just the promotional face.” ESPN’s Max Kellerman said, “If I were Puig and I were trying to get the last dollar I could, the guy with the best track record in the history of sports, by far, is Scott Boras” (“SportsNation,” ESPN2, 7/12). ESPN's Michael Smith called a Puig-Roc Nation Sports partnership a “good move," as Puig "fits with Jay-Z because he plays with an edge, he plays with a confidence, he plays with swagger." But ESPN's Chris Broussard said, "Let Jay-Z negotiate a contract before everybody rushes to him. Let's see what he does with Robinson Cano" ("Numbers Never Lie," ESPN2, 7/11). Cano, who signed with Roc Nation Sports in April, is set to star in a national campaign for Pepsi debuting tomorrow.

MORE WORK GOES INTO IT: CSNBAYAREA.com’s Andy Dolich noted Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sports are turning the agency world "upside down" with their efforts, but he asked, "Six bottles of Cristal at the club -- you think that's going to turn Yasiel and Yoenis and Robinson into big-time clients? I don't think so." Dolich added, "When you're sitting across the table with the best and brightest, general managers and presidents and owners of teams, agents have not been asleep. They've been working and they get up early. They don't get up at 11:00 when you get back from the club. So when players don't maximize their money, hanging at the club with quality talent isn't necessarily going to maximize their revenue-generating potential" ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 7/11).
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