SBJ/October 29-November 4, 2012/Labor and Agents

Tip from wedding guest led broadcast agent Herz to Shulman

Liz Mullen
Steve Herz was just starting out as a sports broadcasting agent in 1994 when a guy he met at a wedding told him he should sign a Canadian sports play-by-play announcer named Dan Shulman.

“He was really convincing, he said, ‘You should really call this guy, Dan Shulman. He’s going to be a big, big star,’” recalled Herz, president and founder of New York-based IF Management. “I never knew this guy before. I just met him at a wedding. But you have to follow every lead.”

Last week, ESPN announced that Shulman had agreed to a multiyear deal to be the play-by-play announcer for “Sunday Night Baseball.”

Herz said it is a nine-year deal that will run concurrent with ESPN’s deal extending its agreement with MLB an additional eight years. ESPN’s deal with MLB starts in 2014 and Shulman’s deal, which also includes announcing college basketball, starts next year.

Shulman will not be calling ESPN’s NBA games, as he has over the past several years, under the terms of the new deal. Herz said Shulman wanted to focus on the two sports he announces most — MLB and college basketball. Additionally, he wanted more time with his family, as he has three children, the youngest of whom is 11.

Neither Herz nor Shulman would provide any financial details about the deal, but industry experts say that as a top play-by-play announcer, Shulman’s deal is likely in the low seven figures a year. Herz would not comment on his commission on the deal but sports broadcast agents typically receive a fee of 10 percent.

“I am very happy,” Shulman said of the deal.

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BORAS SIGNS TIGERS:
MLB player agent Scott Boras signed rising star Detroit Tigers centerfielder Austin Jackson for representation.

Jackson, who made his major league debut in 2010 and was second that year in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, was formerly represented by Hendricks Sports Management. As previously reported, three agents — J.D. Smart, Jim Murray and Matt Laird — recently left Hendricks Sports for Excel
Scott Boras has a staff of soon-to-be free-agent relievers that includes the Detroit Tigers’ Jose Valverde (top).
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Sports Management
. It was not clear which current or former Hendricks Sports agents represented Jackson or if his switch to Boras’ firm was related to those departures. Boras signed Jackson during the season.

Meanwhile, Boras recently signed Tigers closer Jose Valverde, which gives him a corner on the free-agency market when it comes to baseball relievers.

Valverde, who will be a free agent after the World Series, was formerly represented by Proformance Inc.

Boras represents relief pitchers Francisco Rodriguez of the Brewers and Ryan Madson of the Reds, who will be free agents this offseason, and Yankees closer Rafael Soriano, who has a player’s option that Boras has indicated he will exercise to become a free agent.

“Boras will control the closer market,” said a rival agent, who didn’t want to be identified talking about a competitor. “Boras has said it will be a strong closer market and I agree with him.”

> HEADLINE SIGNS PORTIS: Headline Media Management, a New York firm specializing in representing sports broadcasters, has signed recently retired NFL running back Clinton Portis for marketing and broadcast work.
“He played in two big markets, Denver and Washington,” said Mark Zimmerman, Headline Media director of talent and marketing. “We have already had some inquiries for radio.”

Portis, who retired in August, has never had a formal broadcast job before.

> SMITH LEAVES KEELS: Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2009 draft, has parted ways with agent Alvin Keels. After signing with Keels in early 2009, Smith terminated him in mid-April of that year, and hired Priority Sports & Entertainment, then left and re-signed with Keels. Smith had not officially signed with a new agent at press time.

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

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