SBJ/May 6 - 12, 2002/Labor Agents

Players Inc.-NFL connection scores DirecTV as first big national deal

Marshall Faulk, Brett Favre, Kordell Stewart and Peyton Manning were all in Los Angeles last week shooting a series of commercials for DirecTV, the first major national advertising campaign negotiated under a new partnership with Players Inc. and the NFL.

All four players have speaking parts in at least one of the three spots, which were scheduled to be filmed last Monday through Wednesday, said Howard Skall, vice president of player marketing for Players Inc., the marketing and licensing subsidiary of the players association. Skall negotiated the deal with DirecTV for Faulk, Favre, Stewart and their agents.

Manning already had a multiyear agreement with DirecTV, negotiated last year by Peter Johnson, who heads the team sports division at IMG.

Skall worked with James “Bus” Cook, agent for Favre; Rocky Arceneaux, agent for Faulk; and Steve Rosner, marketing agent for Stewart, on one-year deals with DirecTV to promote the satellite television company's NFL out-of-market game package, NFL Sunday Ticket.

Skall declined to reveal the financial details of the players' deals or say whether each got the same compensation.

Before the deal, DirecTV would have had to negotiate with all the players or their agents separately. The deal was signed in April 2001.

Players Inc. has negotiated a number of agreements since then, including many appearance deals for players, but the DirecTV deal was the first major national advertising deal.

 CINDRICH SIGNS TWO BASKETBALL PLAYERS: Cindrich & Co., the Pittsburgh-based NFL agency that recently opened a basketball division, has signed a top WNBA draft pick and a prospect for the NBA draft.

Swin Cash, the leading scorer and rebounder from national champion University of Connecticut and the No. 2 pick overall in the WNBA draft by the Detroit Shock, signed with the agency. "We have a number of marketing deals we are discussing," said Ralph Cindrich, CEO of Cindrich & Co. "We are into the six figures already."

The company also signed Oklahoma forward Aaron McGhee, a prospect for next month's NBA draft. Company owner and founder Cindrich and basketball agent Steve Haney, whom the company recently hired, will represent the players.

Kordell Stewart has a new deal with DirecTV and extended an existing one with Nike.

 16W SIGNS STEWART NIKE EXTENSION: Steve Rosner, partner at 16W Marketing, who worked with Players Inc. on the DirecTV deal for Kordell Stewart, also renegotiated a multiyear extension with Nike for the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback.

Rosner declined to reveal details of the shoe deal. Rosner has been Stewart's marketing agent and Leigh Steinberg has been Stewart's contract agent since he entered the NFL in 1995.

Back then, Rosner worked for Integrated Sports International, a marketing firm in which Steinberg was an investor. That company was sold to SFX Entertainment in 1999, but Rosner left SFX in December 2000. He took several clients with him, including Howie Long, Boomer Esiason, Clyde Drexler, Junior Seau, Warren Moon and Stewart.

 RLR SIGNS ATLAS: RLR Associates, a New York-based sports management firm specializing in sports broadcasters, has signed ESPN boxing analyst and former trainer Teddy Atlas.

Atlas, who serves as ringside analyst for ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights," will be represented by RLR vice president Gary Rosen.

  PINNACLE SIGNS THREE MORE DRAFT PROSPECTS: Pinnacle Management Corp., the New York-based sports agency headed by Marc Cornstein, signed two prospects for this year's NBA draft and one prospect for the 2003 NBA draft.

Cornstein signed University of Illinois forward Damir Krupalija and Miljan Pupovic, a forward on the professional Yugoslavian team Hemofarm, for next month's draft.

Cornstein also signed Slavko Vranes, a 7-foot-5 center playing for the Yugoslavian professional team Buducnost, for the 2003 NBA draft.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@amcity.com.

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