SBJ/August 6-12, 2012/Labor and Agents

Els, agent finish off new Breitling deal after British Open

Liz Mullen
British Open champion Ernie Els will soon add luxury Swiss watch manufacturer Breitling SA to his portfolio of corporate sponsors. The company would join current partners Callaway Golf, SAP, Royal Bank of Canada, Boeing and Upper Deck, according to his agent, Vinny Giles.

Giles, who has represented Els since late last year, declined to disclose terms of the deal, which he said had been agreed to but not yet signed as of last week.

Last month’s victory at the British Open gave Ernie Els his fourth major.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Els won the British Open on July 22, his fourth major, but his first in 10 years. Breitling had been deep in talks with Giles prior to Els’ surprising win at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, and because the company wanted him before he won that major, Giles said he is not looking to change the terms of the deal. “That’s just how you do business,” he said.

Giles, 69, who has represented other top golfers throughout the years, including Tom Kite, Lanny Wadkins, Ben Crenshaw, Justin Leonard and Davis Love III, opened Pros Inc. in Richmond, Va., last year and signed Els as the agency’s first client.

AGENTS ADVISED NOT TO BUY SCOUTING REPORTS
: In the last several months, prominent NFL agents have been receiving unsolicited emails from at least two sources advising them where to get reports on top college football players’ rankings. Those reports are produced by National Football Scouting and Blesto, scouting organizations owned by NFL clubs.

But the information in the reports produced by National Football Scouting, which is owned by 18 NFL clubs and Blesto (which stands for Bears, Lions, Eagles, Steelers Talent Organization) is copyrighted and not intended for outside distribution.

“The clubs pay for these services,” said Greg Aiello, NFL senior vice president of communications, in an email. “The information is proprietary to the clubs.”

NFL Players Association general counsel Tom DePaso said he was not aware of specific incidents of agents receiving either the NFS or Blesto reports, but said agents are best advised not to try to obtain the report.

One of the emails, obtained by SportsBusiness Journal, states, “Do you have the 2012-2013 Blesto or National scouting report. If not, how are you recruiting? Be the first to know where athletes are ranked by pro scouts!” The email, which was sent out by Riverdale, Ga.-based First Round Sports Group, provided a link for the recipient to get more information.

Brian Haynes, president of First Round, said he did not send the emails, but found out they were sent out of his account when he received replies from agents or personal assistants of agents. “Somehow my email was hacked,” Haynes said. “I have no earthly idea how it happened and I don’t know how to get a Blesto report or a National report.”

Meanwhile, the parent of a college football player who was ranked higher than expected in both the Blesto and National Football Scouting reports that came out earlier this spring (both reports are released in late May and early June) said that agents actively began calling his son after the reports were released.

Some agents, who requested anonymity, said that the reports were not difficult to obtain and that they were useful. “You want them for the phone numbers, not the rankings,” one agent said.

Gil Brandt, former head of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys, NFL.com columnist and adviser to the NFL on which NFL draft prospects get invited to the NFL combine, said the two organizations were formed in the 1960s so that all 32 clubs would not have to send scouts to every university to scout football talent.

Agents and others have been trying to get the reports ever since the teams started producing them, Brandt said, but the information was never intended to be distributed to agents.

Brandt said he didn’t think it was right for agents to try to get the reports. “I don’t think the top-rung agents do it,” he said.

BORAS SIGNS BOESCH: MLB agent Scott Boras has signed Detroit Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch for representation. He was formerly represented by CAA Baseball.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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