SBJ/November 12-18, 2012/Labor and Agents

Legacy making first big purchase

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The Legacy Agency is acquiring Peter Greenberg & Associates, a baseball player representation practice that represents 20 major leaguers, including stars Johan Santana and Jose Reyes. The deal marks the first significant acquisition since the agency was formed late last year.

Combining the practice of agents Peter Greenberg and his brother Edward Greenberg with The Legacy Agency’s existing clients will create an agency representing 60 Major League Baseball players, 23 of them all-stars, and about 70 minor league baseball clients.

“We have always planned on creating a market leader in baseball,” said Michael Principe, CEO of The Legacy Agency.

TLA was formed in January when sports marketing firm The Agency was merged with MLB player representation firm Legacy Sports. Peter and Edward Greenberg will join as principals and will work alongside TLA’s baseball agents and principals Greg Genske, Scott Parker and Brian Peters. All will report to Principe.

TLA is based in New York, and the Greenbergs will continue to operate out of New York. Genske, Parker and Peters will continue to operate out of Newport Beach, Calif. Other partners in the firm, from the sports marketing firm formerly known as The Agency, are Jordan Bazant, Andrew Witlieb, Russ Spielman, Peter Raskin and Kevin Canning.

Other clients of the Greenbergs include Martin Prado and rising stars such as Ruben Tejada, Wilton Lopez, Starling Marte and Wily Peralta. Existing clients of TLA include CC Sabathia, Vernon Wells, Brett Anderson and Angel Pagan.

“Peter [Greenberg] is an excellent agent who has demonstrated that he can negotiate contracts at the highest level, while maintaining the highest level of integrity,” Genske said last week. “The thing that is great about it is the complementary nature of it. Peter Greenberg has been really successful operating in markets we really don’t operate in. It’s a really good partnership.”

Peter and Edward Greenberg, who are both fluent in Spanish, formed their agency in 1997 specifically to serve Spanish-speaking athletes. Many of their clients hail from Spanish-speaking countries, including the Dominican Republic, Panama and Venezuela.

Peter Greenberg was in Venezuela last week and unavailable for comment, but Edward Greenberg said: “We have been approached by a number of agencies over the years, but we never saw the kind of fit that we do with this group. He has a tremendous reputation, Greg [Genske], and Scott Parker and his whole group, and that was one of the reasons why we decided it was a good fit. We wouldn’t just join forces with any agency.”

Edward Greenberg said that, additionally, some of the MLB player clients have worked with The Agency before it became part of TLA, so there was a relationship and some trust there, as well.

“We have known Mike Principe for years and we have developed a good relationship over the years,” he said. “We respect a lot of what he has done in his career and especially what he has done with The Legacy Agency.”

Principe noted that 23.5 percent of MLB players and 43.5 percent of minor league players hail from Latin American countries.

“We’ve identified Latin America as a growth opportunity, as highlighted by the large number of Latin Americans in the MLB ranks and the larger number in the minors,” Principe said. “The Greenbergs accelerate our Latin American plans and make us an overnight leader in that growing market.”

Before forming TLA, Principe helped create the former Blue Entertainment Sports Television, which was acquired by Lagardère Unlimited, and worked on mergers that created the former SFX Sports. SFX Sports failed, in part, due to rapid-fire mergers of major sports agencies run by agents with big personalities who, in the end, did not get along. A personality clash will not happen here, Principe and Genske said. Principe said he has known the Greenbergs for 10 years, and Genske said he has been talking to the Greenbergs about a possible business combination for about a year.

Principe has purposely focused TLA on representing MLB players for on-the-field work. MLB is the only major team sport in the U.S. without a salary cap, and salaries have been skyrocketing in recent years. Both TLA agents and the Greenbergs are focused on representing premier players, and the average salary per client is higher than most agencies.

In addition to MLB player contract work, TLA also represents an array of sports talent for marketing and other off-the-field work. Other TLA clients include golfers Jim Furyk and John Huh, broadcasters Troy Aikman and Dan Hicks, coaches Steve Lavin and Mick Cronin, and marketing clients Reggie Bush and Ryan Tannehill in the NFL.
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