SBJ/August 6 - 12, 2001/Labor Agents

Octagon signs deals for Vick to push EAS, PowerAde, 989 Sports

Top NFL draft pick Michael Vick has signed three deals involving national commercials, including one spot for EAS nutrition bars in which NFL great John Elway gives the young quarterback advice.

In another commercial, for PowerAde, Vick throws short passes that knock receivers off their feet, followed by a long ball that goes more than 60 yards and into the stands, said Andre Colona, Vick's agent at Octagon. The commercial ends with "Michael chugging a big bottle of PowerAde," he said.

In addition to those two spots, Vick has agreed to film a commercial later this year for a video game for 989 Sports, a division of Sony, said Brian Edmonds, Octagon manager of athlete marketing. Tom George, Octagon senior vice president in charge of marketing, and football co-director Jeff Sperbeck also worked on the deals.

Neither Edmonds nor Colona would reveal the value of those three deals, but industry sources put them in six figures.

The EAS spot with Elway is slotted to air only four times, including during two "Monday Night Football" games and during two other high-profile NFL games, Edmonds said. The PowerAde spot is expected to start running at the launch of the NFL season.

Although Octagon agents would not say for certain, they indicated that Vick has finished his marketing deal-making for the year. As previously reported in this space, Vick also has signed a multiyear deal with Nike Inc., although that endorsement does not now include a television commercial.

Edmonds acknowledged that Vick is getting a lot of exposure but said Octagon reps think it's just the right amount, considering his circumstances.

"It would have been irresponsible for us not to take advantage of him being the No. 1 pick in the draft," Edmonds said. "But we have been careful to protect him [for endorsements] for the future."

Octagon has turned down local deals for automobiles and cellular phones, for example, to keep those big categories open to future sponsors, Edmonds said.

Also in the name of protecting Vick, Octagon agents have been working on a hologram that will be placed on all authentic Michael Vick memorabilia and autographs, Edmonds said.

 LT'S NEW ROLE A DRAG: NFL hall of famer Lawrence Taylor and his agent thought long and hard when they first got the call from Showtime, but they decided that one of football's fiercest pass rushers ever would accept the role of a drag queen in a new show for the cable network to prove Taylor's diversity as an actor.

Taylor will guest-star Thursday in the Showtime series premiere of "Going to California" as the character Fighting Iris, said Mark Lepselter, president of Maxximum Marketing and LT's agent.

Lepselter said that when he first got the call from Showtime, they both weren't sure that Taylor would do it. "But after wrestling with it ... we thought this would be a unique opportunity for him to show off his acting ability and not just show off his tough-guy image," Lepselter said.

Meanwhile, Lepselter has signed a few deals for current New York Giants star Tiki Barber, including an agreement with Shell Oil Co., which will give away 20,000 Tiki Barber bobblehead dolls in the New York tri-state area.

Barber also has signed an exclusive agreement with All American Collectibles, which includes autograph signings, radio and TV commercials and personal appearances. Industry sources put that deal in the solid six figures.

  SFX SIGNS MAGGETTE: SFX Basketball has signed Los Angeles Clippers forward Corey Maggette, sources said. SFX Basketball CEO Arn Tellem and vice president Rob Pelinka will handle Maggette's career. Maggette was formerly represented by agent David Odom.

  BLUE JAY WITH ASSANTE: Baseball agent and Assante Sports Management Group President Jeff Moorad has signed Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Shannon Stewart.

  HODARI JOINS BFCA SPORTS: NFL agent Ajili Hodari has joined BFCA Sports Management. Hodari represents Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shawn Springs and Carolina Panthers wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad.

  SFX SIGNS 3 GOLFERS: SFX Golf has signed LPGA golfer Leta Lindley and recently turned professionals Stephanie Keever, a Stanford graduate, and Kalen Anderson, a Duke grad. Both Keever and Anderson plan to join the 2001 Futures Tour before attending the LPGA Tour Qualifying School this fall. Lindley will be represented by SFX Golf agent Todd Ciuba. Keever and Anderson will be jointly represented by SFX Golf agents Andrea Solomita and Alissa Herron.

Contact Liz Mullen with labor and agent news at lmullen@amcity.com.

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