SBJ/September 17 - 23, 2001/Labor Agents

Bonds concentrating on baseball and not endorsements, Boras says

Barry Bonds has signed one endorsement deal since starting his drive to break the home-run record, but his agent, Scott Boras, is mum on the details.

"I just completed one deal that will take effect if he breaks the record," Boras said. The agreement does not involve television commercials and it "may take a different form" if Bonds does not break the record, Boras said.

Boras wouldn't provide any more details on that deal and said he has turned down numerous inquiries from companies about endorsements for Bonds in the last few months.

Many of the corporate inquiries involve personal appearances for Bonds, and that is something that Boras will not allow until after the season is over.

"We have been just making sure we keep this thing down to the total focus on baseball," Boras said. "Everybody wants us to get Barry to do things now. We are not doing anything until the playoffs are over."

In addition to getting about a dozen inquiries from companies, the Irvine, Calif.-based Scott Boras Corp. gets 30 to 40 press interview inquiries a week, Boras said. Bonds is not doing any one-on-one interviews and is only appearing at a 15- to 20-minute news conference after games, Boras said.    

Boras acknowledged that Bonds may be losing out on business opportunities.

"If there is any downside, it would be a loss of money," Boras said. "On the upside, when he sits in his rocking chair at 65 years of age, he will know that he didn't do anything to stop him from achieving his goals."

READY FOR SOME MADDEN? Many teen-agers today know John Madden not as the coach of the Oakland Raiders, who won a Super Bowl about a quarter of a century ago, but as the guy on Fox's NFL broadcasts and the guy with the video game, said Sandy Montag, Madden's longtime agent and IMG senior vice president.

The Madden NFL 2001 video game by EA Sports was scheduled to hit stores starting this month, and with many gamers ordering it months ahead of time, there is hope that it will become the best-selling sports video game of all time, said Montag, who heads IMG's broadcast talent division.

That record is held by Madden NFL 2000, which sold almost 20 million units, Montag said.

Madden started his relationship with EA Sports in 1986 and spent four years working with the company to develop the first game, before developing a total of 11 annual versions. "John puts a lot of his personal time into it," Montag said. "It is his playbook. He is in charge of game strategy."

Montag declined to reveal the value of Madden's EA deal, which runs until 2005. One industry source said Madden gets a percentage of sales and that it may be his most lucrative deal next to his Fox broadcast agreement. Madden also has endorsement deals with Outback Steakhouse, Ace Hardware, Tinactin and Pepsi.

OCTAGON SIGNS GLOVER: Octagon's golf division recently signed promising young golfer Lucas Glover, according to Giff Breed, head of the division. Glover, a Clemson All-American, is scheduled to make his professional debut at the Texas Open later this month.

Breed has high hopes that Glover will draw interest for his long-driving ability. "He reminds us a lot of Mark McGwire," said Breed. "He hits the ball a mile."

Glover did not have any endorsement deals at press time. "We are in the process now of working with a number of equipment companies and also corporate partners for Lucas to represent next year," Breed said.

Octagon takes a team approach with its golf clients. All agents in the division, including Breed, Vinny Giles, Vernon Spratley, Mac Barnhardt and Thomas Parker, will be handling Glover's career.

WOOLF SIGNS DRISCOLL: Woolf Associates has signed new pro golfer James Driscoll, the runner-up at the 2000 U.S. Amateur Championship, for marketing and endorsements.

Woolf agents Dan Weinberg and Craig Berkel will handle Driscoll, who is probably best known for losing the U.S. Amateur on the 39th playoff hole.

"We do not have any endorsement deals for him and are in the process of securing those deals," said Weinberg, who played golf with Driscoll in high school before becoming an agent.

Driscoll is a native of Brookline, Mass., and his signing is in line with Boston-based Woolf's strategy of representing New England athletes.

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

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