SBJ/20090713/Labor & Agents

IMG-Gaylord talks end with no deal reached, sources say

IMG’s discussions with Gaylord Sports Management have concluded with no deal, multiple sources said.

IMG had been talking to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Gaylord, which represents the world’s No. 2 golfer, Phil Mickelson, about acquiring all or part of the business, sources said, but golf — specifically Mickelson — was the main attraction. Mark Steinberg, who heads IMG’s powerful golf division and is agent for the world’s No. 1 golfer, Tiger Woods, had been leading the talks, sources said.

Gaylord CEO Steve Loy, Mickelson’s personal agent, would not confirm or deny discussions. In a statement, he said, “It is flattering to know our competitors think of us as being a valuable strategic partner but we are not for sale in whole or in part and IMG is not trying to buy us.”

Steinberg declined comment through an e-mail. An IMG spokesman also declined to comment.

 EMMITT BACK TO OCTAGON: Octagon and Advantage Marketing Group have signed a multiyear deal to co-represent the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith, in licensing, endorsements, speaking engagements, media content and development, and other endeavors.

Emmitt Smith, once repped by
Octagon, is back with the firm
and Advantage Marketing.

Smith, who will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010, had been represented by IMG since 2007. Octagon had previously represented him and had negotiated his broadcast deal with ESPN. ESPN announced earlier this year that it would not be renewing the deal.

“Obviously, we are delighted that Emmitt has returned to Octagon,” said Phil de Picciotto, Octagon president of athletes and personalities, who will represent Smith along with AMG Chief Executive Werner Scott.

His new agents will focus on opportunities surrounding his potential induction into the hall of fame, as well as “a few television and other media projects which we will announce in the weeks ahead,” de Picciotto said in an e-mail.

“These activities, together with the real estate and charitable work to which Emmitt is so committed, will not leave sufficient time for an NFL broadcast role this season,” de Picciotto said.

 STEINBERG SIGNS BOXER: Leigh Steinberg has signed undefeated heavyweight boxer Chris Arreola for marketing and public relations.

Arreola, who is 27-0 with 24 knockouts, “is vying to become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world,” said Steinberg. Arreola’s next fight has not been set, but he is looking to fight Wladimir Klitschko or his brother, Vitali, later this year, Steinberg said.

If Arreola becomes the first Hispanic heavyweight champ, Steinberg said, marketing opportunities will be robust, despite the recession.

“There are certain categories that are not as active and sponsors are being very prudent,” Steinberg said. “But the Hispanic market in the United States is massive and growing every day, and Chris offers the opportunity to penetrate that market.”

Steinberg is best known as the most powerful NFL player agent of the 1990s, but he has also represented boxers in the past, including Oscar De La Hoya and Lennox Lewis.

 CARMELO SIGNS WITH CAA: Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony has signed with CAA Sports for marketing and playing contract representation. He will be represented by a team of agents at CAA, led by Leon Rose.

 ROSENHAUS ADDS: Rosenhaus Sports signed Philadelphia Eagles guard Max Jean-Gilles and Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Mario Henderson for representation. The firm, owned by brothers Drew and Jason Rosenhaus, also signed defensive end Kyle Moore, a fourth-round pick by Tampa Bay in this year’s draft, for representation.

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

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