SBJ/June 20-26, 2011/Labor and Agents

CAA Sports keeps Levine, Nuchow with 5-year deals

CAA Sports co-heads Michael Levine and Howard Nuchow quietly in the last few months signed new five-year employment contracts to continue to guide and build Creative Artists Agency’s sports division, sources said.

CAA Sports was launched in April 2006; Nuchow and Levine were two of the principals hired to run the group in early 2007. Sources said their original employment agreements were four-year deals.

Other than the length of the new deals, terms of their contracts were not known. CAA declined to comment.

SHANA WITTENWYLER (2)
Under Nuchow (above) and Levine, CAA Sports has built a national sales team.
Since launching in April 2006, CAA Sports has become a powerhouse in the American sports talent representation business. The agency now represents 650 athletes and has negotiated current playing contracts across the NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA valued at more than $3 billion.

Nuchow and Levine manage sports agents who represent superstar athletes across sports, including LeBron James (contract only), Carmelo Anthony, Peyton and Eli Manning (contract only), Tony Romo, Roy Halladay, Sidney Crosby, Jimmie Johnson, Shaun White, and Novak Djokovic.

But in overseeing CAA’s sports division, Nuchow and Levine’s jobs go beyond talent representation. At the time Nuchow and Levine were hired, CAA said in a statement that they would help to expand the agency’s sports business into other areas such as broadcast rights, corporate marketing initiatives, and sports properties for sales/sponsorships opportunities.

Under Levine and Nuchow’s leadership, CAA Sports has built a national sales team that has, in the last 18 months, negotiated more than $750 million in new sponsorship business for property clients such as Madison Square Garden and the New York Yankees. The group was recently hired by the San Francisco 49ers to sell naming rights for the team’s new stadium. Additionally, CAA, over the last few years has established a sports consulting division and counts RBS, the PGA Tour and the University of Colorado as consulting clients.

Long viewed as the most influential Hollywood talent representation firm, CAA got into the sports business in 2006 when it hired former IMG agents Tom Condon (NFL), Casey Close (MLB), and Pat Brisson and J.P. Barry (NHL), as well as former SFX Sports NFL agent Ben Dogra. Since then, CAA Sports has made its foray into the representation of soccer, tennis, golf, and basketball players, further expanding the agency’s global reach.

Nuchow and Levine were hired just ahead of CAA hiring Leon Rose, agent for NBA star James. CAA later hired NBA player agent Henry Thomas, who represents Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, making CAA the power broker during the last year’s NBA free agency period that saw all three players come together with the Miami Heat.

Nuchow, formerly the president of Mandalay Sports Entertainment, and Levine, formerly the president of Van Wagner Sports Group, were originally hired along with television executive David Rone to oversee CAA Sports. Rone recently was hired by Time Warner Cable as president of its newly created division TWC Sports.

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