SBJ/Dec. 14, 2009/Labor & Agents

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  • William Morris Endeavor joins team for Polamalu, Al Michaels

    William Morris Endeavor has signed Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu for off-field work and “Sunday Night Football” play-by-play announcer Al Michaels for endorsements and other opportunities, in a deal in which the Hollywood agency will work with Polamalu’s and Michaels’ agent, Marvin Demoff.

    Demoff, who has represented star NFL players since the 1970s, said he sought out the relationship with WME so his clients were exposed to more business opportunities, including television and other entertainment work.

    Rick Rosen, head of WME’s television department, and Josh Pyatt, a WME television department agent who specializes in unscripted television and broadcast work, will represent both Michaels and Polamalu.

    Polamalu (above) and Michaels are both
    repped by Marvin Demoff.

    Michaels has a broadcast deal with NBC that runs through 2013 and includes him working as a daytime host for the 2010 and 2012 Olympics, Demoff said. In his case, WME will mainly be looking to “explore significant partnerships other than pure broadcasting,” including corporate partnerships.

    “I was the catalyst,” Demoff said. “I wanted to make sure there were not opportunities that slipped through the cracks.”

     In the case of Polamalu, WME will be charged with finding endorsements as well as exploring potential ways the Steeler could “cross over” into television, Demoff said. “I don’t see Troy ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ and I am not necessarily sure it would be ‘CSI,’” Demoff said. Polamalu’s endorsements include Coca-Cola, Nike, Head and Shoulders and EA Sports.

     WMG HIRE: Wasserman Media Group’s Arn Tellem was nearing an announcement at press time last week that Hal Biagas, National Basketball Players Association deputy counsel, was joining WMG as executive vice president, operations, of WMG’s management division. Tellem is head of WMG Management.

     BRAZILIAN BASKETBALL PARTNERSHIP: WMG has formed an alliance with Brazilian basketball agency Martin & Maffia by acquiring an equity interest in the firm.

    Martin & Maffia represents about 30 international basketball players, including Tiago Splitter, who was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.

    “It is to expand our business internationally,” said WMG Management’s Tellem. The 2016 Rio Olympics “is a nice plus,” but was not the primary reason for the deal, he said.

     Splitter, meanwhile, has been under contract to a team in Spain and is playing there, but WMG hopes to be negotiating an NBA contract for him this summer, Tellem said.

     LMM SIGNS NFL DRAFT PICK: Lock Metz & Malinovic has signed Syracuse defensive tackle Arthur Jones for representation.

    Jones was No. 9 in Web site NFLDraftBlitz.com’s mock draft last week and was ranked No. 48 by Web site NFLDraftScout last week. He will be represented by firm principals Ethan Lock, Eric Metz, Vance Malinovic and Joe Panos, a former NFL player and recently NFLPA-certified agent who joined LMM earlier this year.

    Panos said he thinks his experience in the NFL was a factor in Jones’ decision. “I can relate to the kids because whatever is going to happen to these kids happened to me,” said Panos, who played guard for seven seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills after being a third-round draft pick in 1994. Among the things he can relate to, he said, is “some of the lines” prospective draft prospects will hear from agents.

    Panos said he is ecstatic to have Jones as his first client. “I am very fortunate to come out of the gate and get a kid like Arthur,” he said.

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

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