SBJ/October 22-28, 2012/Labor and Agents

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  • NBA agent Lance Young near agreement to join Excel Sports

    Liz Mullen
    NBA player agent Lance Young has left Octagon after about a decade working there and is close to a deal to join Excel Sports Management, sources said.

    If Young, who co-represented Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and other NBA players at Octagon, does join Excel, as expected, he will be the latest of at least five agents who left rival agencies to join the New York-based NBA, MLB and golf representation firm in recent months.

    Young, reached on his cell phone last week, confirmed he had left Octagon, but declined to comment further.

    An Octagon official said last week that the agency accepted Young’s resignation, but would not comment further. Excel officials declined to comment for this story.

    Young has been identified as an agent for a number of NBA players, including Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay, Indiana Pacers forward David West in addition to Curry. He was representing about 20 more lesser-known pro basketball players, including some playing overseas, while at Octagon.

    It was not clear which players, if any, will follow Young. He co-represented several NBA players with other Octagon agents and one source said he was not the lead agent but filled more of a client services role with some of the agency’s higher-profile NBA player clients.

    Curry, for example, was co-represented by Octagon basketball head Jeff Austin and Young. Austin represented Curry’s father, Dell Curry, when he was an NBA player. Young started at Octagon in the early 2000s as a client services manager in the agency’s golf division. One source said they would not be surprised if Young worked in the golf business at Excel.

    Excel Sports Management was by powerful NBA player agent Jeff Schwartz as a basketball player representation firm in 2002. But last year, Excel but expanded into baseball by hiring prominent MLB agent Casey Close, as well as prominent golf agent Mark Steinberg. Close, Steinberg and Schwartz all began their careers two decades ago working at IMG.

    In the last few months, Excel has brought on baseball agents Bobby Barad from TWC Sports Management, David O’Hagan from CAA Sports and J.D. Smart, Jim Murray and Matt Laird from Hendricks Sports Management.

    In baseball circles, agents have been waiting to see which clients might follow the former Hendricks agents to Excel, since those three agents co-represented about 30 major league and 40 to 50 minor league baseball players, with brothers and agency founders Randy and Alan Hendricks.

    > SPORTSTARS FIELDING MARKETING INQUIRIES FOR MORRIS: Sixth round NFL Draft picks out of a small colleges don’t usually need marketing agents, but Sportstars director of marketing Emil Boccio has been busy these days taking calls from companies interested in future deals with client Alfred Morris.

    Rookie running back Alfred Morris is receiving strong interest from marketers.
    Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
    Morris, a running back drafted by the Washington Redskins out of Florida Atlantic University with the 173rd pick, was fourth in the NFL in rushing last week. “He came out of nowhere,” said Boccio, who does marketing for Sportstars about 100 NFL player clients.

    So far, Morris has inked several autograph signing and appearance deals in the D.C. area. Boccio is in talks with potential corporate partners for Morris that include beverage and car companies, but nothing was signed as of last week.

    “The problem is when you burst onto the scene during the season, the big companies already have their budgets allocated,” Boccio said. “A lot of the bigger deals are sown up in July or August, before the season.”

    Still, Boccio is hopeful that he will be able to capitalize in the coming months on Morris' strong performance.

    “A lot of the sponsors I am talking to have expressed interest, but are waiting until Super Bowl,” when brands will have new budgets for marketing and endorsement deals, he said.

    Contact Liz Mullen at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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  • IMG hires Matt Smith, who reps father Lovie

    IMG has hired Matt Smith, son and agent of Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith, who will represent his father in both on-the-field and off-the-field work, including endorsements, as well as any future broadcasting work and literary efforts.

    Smith, 26, a graduate of Northwestern and Loyola Chicago School of Law, will join IMG as a client manager, working out of its Chicago office, said Sandy Montag, IMG senior corporate vice president and managing director of clients. Smith will report to Gary O’Hagan, head of IMG’s Coaches division. O’Hagan reports to Montag.

    Prior to IMG, Matt Smith interned at CAA Sports and Priority Sports & Entertainment. “He has grown up in a football household and he knows a lot of people in the industry and he is a smart kid,” Montag said. “We feel that in five years from now, Matt will be a great executive in our business.”

    Lovie Smith has been head coach of the Bears since 2004 and is currently in the last year of a two-year contract that Matt Smith negotiated with the club in February 2011. Matt Smith earlier this month said discussions regarding any contract extension would take place after the football season. Matt Smith has been Lovie Smith’s lone representative since January 2011.

    Currently, Lovie Smith has no local or national endorsement deals, Montag said.

    — Liz Mullen

    Print | Tags: Labor and Agents
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