SBJ/September 12 - 18, 2005/Labor Agents

Octagon’s Carlisle sees a lot of Phelps in swimmer Hoff

Octagon agent Peter Carlisle has signed Katie Hoff, a 16-year-old swimmer who won three gold medals at swimming’s World Championships this year, and already Carlisle is comparing her to his most famous client.

“She is amazingly similar to Michael Phelps,” said Carlisle, who represents Phelps and is the director of Octagon’s Olympics and action sports division.

Like Phelps, Hoff trained at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. And like Phelps, she made her first appearance in the Olympics at age 15. Hoff finished seventh in the 200-meter individual medley at Athens, but a more mature 16-year-old Hoff swept the individual medley events and set a championship record in the 400-meter individual medley at the FINA World Championships in July.

Hoff will be 19, as Phelps was, when her next Olympic opportunity rolls around, in 2008.

Katie Hoff swept the individual medley events at swimming’s World Championships in July.
It is not uncommon for agents to rave about their clients, but Carlisle has a track record of being right. In August 2003, when Phelps was getting little press outside swimming and Olympics reports, Carlisle told SportsBusiness Journal that Phelps would make marketing history for the sport and become the highest-paid swimmer of all time.

Carlisle remembers trying to explain the importance of Phelps before Athens. “I used to tell people, with Phelps, ‘This guy is a really big deal. I can’t tell you what a big deal this guy is, because it won’t make sense to you,’” Carlisle said.

Hoff, Carlisle added, “is that kind of athlete.”

Carlisle said he plans to spend this fall negotiating a swimwear deal for Hoff, but that other marketing deals will likely come much later. “All of the companies are very, very excited that she has turned pro,” he said. “It could be interesting to see what she and Phelps will be able to do in changing the sport or the way the sport is perceived by the general public.”

RICE TO LOOK AT AGENTRY: Jerry Rice is scheduled to sit down with his agent soon to talk about Rice’s post-playing career options, which include broadcasting, coaching, endorsements and an affiliation with SFX Sports, said Jim Steiner, his longtime agent.

Rice, 42, announced his retirement from football last week.

Steiner noted that Rice getting into the agent business is far from a certainty. “We have asked him to consider the possibility … but it would be in a limited-type capacity,” Steiner said.

If Rice did affiliate with SFX, he would likely be involved in recruiting and training SFX Football clients, Steiner said.

If Rice goes to work for SFX, he would not be the only future NFL hall-of-famer working in the agent business. Warren Moon, who will be eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time this year, is a partner with his longtime agent, Leigh Steinberg, in the Newport Beach, Calif.-based Steinberg, Tollner & Moon.

Coaching and broadcasting are also possibilities for Rice.

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

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