SBJ/November 26-December 2, 2012/Labor and Agents

Players seeing more broadcast opportunities beyond sports

Liz Mullen
Broadcast opportunities for former athletes may be opening up beyond the traditional sports role of game analyst and color commentator, says Lonnie Cooper, CEO and founder of CSE, a firm that represents about 100 broadcasters and new media personalities.

CSE recently negotiated a deal for retired MLB second baseman Ron Gant to host “Good Day Atlanta,” a popular, nonsports morning show on the Fox affiliate in Atlanta. Cooper says that ever since former NFL defensive end and Fox Sports NFL analyst Michael Strahan took over for Regis Philbin on the nationally syndicated talk show “Live! With Kelly and Michael” in September, CSE has received more inquiries about nonsports broadcast work. These include inquiries from The Weather Channel and “Entertainment Tonight.”

“What we are trying to do is develop our clients to be pure broadcasters,” Cooper said, in a telephone interview last week. “We feel that there are a lot of opportunities to go from playing to broadcasting within their space and, with that experience, we continue to look in all areas of broadcast work for them.”

Gant
CSE signed Gant for broadcast work after he retired from a 13-year MLB career, seven of which were with the Atlanta Braves. The deal was negotiated by Mark Carmony, senior vice president of coaches and broadcasters, and Matt Kramer, director of broadcasters and new media personalities.

Cooper founded CSE in 1986, signing Atlanta Hawks guard Spud Webb for marketing, as the company’s first client.
The Atlanta-based company also represents a number of blue chip companies and brands, including Kellogg’s, AT&T, and Coca-Cola, for an array of services, including PR, consulting, advertising and brand positioning and research.

In the sports talent business, CSE represents about 200 clients total. Its broadcasters and new media personality clients include John Smoltz, who works for the MLB Network and Turner Sports, and Hines Ward of NBC Sports, as well as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The company also represents about 50 baseball player clients, including Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur and free agent slugger Jeff Keppinger.

Cooper also was a first mover in representing NBA coaches, and his company currently represents about 50 coaches, assistant coaches and general managers.

Among the coaching clients are Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale and Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson, as well as Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff. That put Cooper right in the middle of the recent coaching moves, when Sampson took over as Rockets head coach after McHale took an emergency leave of absence earlier this month. In addition, he represented Bickerstaff as he was named interim head coach after the Lakers fired Mike Brown.

> NFLPA EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR ADVISERS: The NFLPA extended the deadline for financial advisers to reapply for the union’s certified financial advisers program to Nov. 30, for a variety of reasons, including the fact that many financial firms were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.

“We had well over 50 advisers that are from New York and Connecticut that were burdened by the storm and needed more time,” said Dana Hammonds, NFLPA director of player services and development.

As previously reported, the NFLPA reopened the voluntary program for financial advisers to become certified after a three-year hiatus. The new program includes regulations that advisers have more experience as well as a more stringent background check. The previous deadline was Nov. 1.

> MEDDY JOINS IMG: Jordan Meddy has joined IMG’s broadcasting division as an account executive. Meddy was formerly with Wasserman Media Group. He will focus on building IMG’s roster of up-and-coming media talent and will report to IMG vice presidents Sharon Chang and Babette Perry.

IMPACT SIGNS TONY CARTER: Impact Sports has signed Denver Broncos cornerback Tony Carter for representation. Impact NFL player agents Sean Kiernan and Tony Fleming will represent him. He was formerly represented by agent Chris Napoli of NorthStar Sports Representation.

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

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