SBJ/March 20 - 26, 2006/Forty Under 40

Perry Rogers

PERRY ROGERS
AGASSI ENTERPRISES; A&R; PREMIER INTEGRATED SPORTS MANAGEMENT

By Daniel Kaplan      
Staff writer

Perry Rogers
Age: 37
Title: President
Companies: Agassi Enterprises; A&R; Premier Integrated Sports Management
Education: B.S., business administration, Georgetown University, 1992; J.D., University of Arizona, 1994
Family: Wife, Rosemary; daughter Hannah, 9; son Grant, 6
Career: Has been managing Agassi and related enterprises since graduating from Georgetown
Last vacation: Telluride, Colo.
Last book read: "The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century" by Thomas Friedman
Last movie seen: "Match Point"
Pet peeve: People who don't keep their word
Greatest achievement: My family
Greatest disappointment: Not getting a master's degree in theology
Fantasy job: I've already got it.
Executive most admired: Phil Knight
Business advice: Your word matters more than anything.

When Perry Rogers was 12 growing up in Las Vegas, he challenged a fiery competitor at a state tennis tournament to a fight, enraged by a perceived slur.

Thus began what would become one of the great friendships and business relationships in sport. The other guy was a young phenom named Andre Agassi, who is Rogers' trademark client and has earned more money hitting tennis balls than anyone on the planet.

Today, Rogers manages Agassi; his wife, retired tennis player Steffi Graf; basketball icon Shaquille O'Neal; and golfer Adam Scott. He and Agassi also run a thriving investment fund, as well as one of the top charitable foundations in the country. Agassi's charity finances a charter school in Las Vegas that is one of the model institutions in the country for educating disadvantaged kids.

In 1987 when Agassi was going pro and Rogers headed off to his first semester at Georgetown, few would have seen the two getting together for this kind of run. Rogers was planning a career in law, and IMG managed Agassi at the time.

Then came the infamous "Image is Everything" Canon camera commercials, which wrapped the young prodigy in an arrogant, brash image. Shocked by the reaction, Agassi called his friend for help.

"You have to make sure your brand is clear and identifiable, and we learned that the hard way," Rogers said. "Image is everything; while that is true for Canon," it wasn't true for Agassi.

Rogers jumped at the chance to help his friend, and the two made history in the process. While IMG continued to manage Agassi though 2000, and SFX has had a part of the relationship since, Rogers' role has been as a trusted adviser and deal negotiator.

Agassi signed his first Nike contract in 1987 for $25,000 guaranteed. Eight years later he actually agreed to less of a guarantee in a royalty-based deal. The final result: $127 million over 10 years.

"Perry is one of the smartest guys I know out there in the business," said Ian Hamilton, the former Nike sports marketing executive who negotiated the 1995 deal. "Perry had the luxury of watching how not to do it."

Today at age 37, Agassi earns more than $20 million in off-court endorsements from companies such as Adidas, Genworth Financial and Head Rackets.

Rogers' influence now runs far outside of tennis, investing in hotels and clubs with Agassi, as well as his management of O'Neal and Scott, who he signed in 2001 and 2004, respectively. His 25-person Vegas shop will only represent one player per sport in order to focus as much attention on the client as possible, he said.

But it is tennis where he has the most sway, so much so that he was recently elected to the seven-member ATP board of directors as a player representative.

"He has a real understanding of how the sport acts as a business," said ATP chairman Etienne de Villiers. "Getting him on board is one of the most positive things that has happened."

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