SBJ/July 7 - 13, 2003/Labor Agents

SFX Sports signs ‘multidimensional’ track star Devers

SFX Sports has signed three-time Olympic track gold medalist Gail Devers for representation and has begun preliminary discussions with companies about endorsement deals, said Rob Urbach, executive vice president of SFX Sports.

"We are very excited to represent Gail," Urbach said. "[Devers] is one of the greatest stories in sports."

Devers won her ninth U.S. 100-meter hurdles title at last month's U.S. track and field championships. She did it at age 36 and despite the fact that that she suffers from Graves' disease, a chronic thyroid disorder, and takes daily medication for it, Urbach said.

SFX is in talks with both Olympic sponsors and pharmaceutical companies about potential deals, he said.

"She is very inspirational, and we are working on a book project," Urbach said. "We are in the preliminary stages of packaging it and taking it to publishers."

Devers has not said when she will retire, but Urbach said that when she does, SFX plans to represent her.

"I think Gail is very multidimensional and a very smart woman and there are some other formats outside of sports where we think Gail has a future," he said. Those formats could including motivational speaking and television, he said.

CEISLER SIGNS HAYES: Billy Ceisler, an agent who started his NBA practice last year, has signed Jarvis Hayes, the No. 10 pick in this year's NBA draft.

Ceisler, who owns New York-based advertising and marketing company Fundamental Communications, said he always knew he would have a first-round pick, he just didn't know how soon. Ceisler represents Smush Parker of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Pat Burke of the Orlando Magic, both undrafted rookies in 2002.

Ceisler said last week that he was in talks with Nike, Reebok and Adidas about a shoe deal for Hayes, a 6-foot-7 guard from Georgia, who was selected by the Washington Wizards (see chart).

Ceisler played one year of college basketball at the University of Albany and hails from a basketball family. His grandfather, Willie Rubenstein, was captain of NYU's basketball team when it captured the Helms National Championship in 1935.

OCTAGON SIGNS GOLFER: Octagon has signed three-time All-American and 2003 collegiate golfer of the year Katherine Hull for representation and is in talks with club makers about endorsement deals.

Hull, a native Australian who attended Pepperdine University, won her first two professional tournaments on the Futures Tour. She had a one-tournament endorsement deal with Geico Insurance for her appearance at last weekend's U.S. Women's Open, said Dan Levy, who will serve as Hull's primary agent.

Hull was expected to wear the Geico logo on her cap and also, as part of the deal, have a gecko character, like the one that appears in Geico's commercials, covering the driver in her bag.

"We hope it is part of a long-term partnership, but right now [the Geico deal] is just for the Open," Levy said.

Levy is an agent working out of Octagon's women's sports division, but agents from Octagon's golf division also will work with Hull. Octagon agents are in talks with several companies about a club deal and a ball, shoe and glove deal for Hull, he said.

Boxer Francisco "Panchito" Bojado
BOXER GETS DEAL: Up-and-coming fighter Francisco "Panchito" Bojado has sealed a deal with Nestlé and is appearing at promotional events at Los Angeles-area Albertsons supermarkets.

The 20-year-old fighter, who was born in Mexico but was raised in Los Angeles, has been a big draw at the events that promote Nestlé products to the area's large Hispanic community. Bojado adviser Frank Acosta and Martin Cuburu, a Nestlé USA executive responsible for Hispanic marketing efforts, declined to reveal the value of the deal.

"I hired him because I thought he was someone who was respected throughout the community and understood the culture and understood the language," Cuburu said.

Cuburu said Bojado is signing autographs and giving speeches about how he was able to achieve success.

"I truly believe he will be a role model in the Hispanic community, just like Oscar [De La Hoya] is," Cuburu said.

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

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