SBJ/February 11-17, 2013/Labor and Agents

Fegan heads Relativity’s basketball unit

Relativity Sports continues to build its talent representation business by bringing on prominent NBA agent Dan Fegan to lead its basketball division.

Fegan will bring his 40 NBA clients, who include Dwight Howard, Shawn Marion and John Wall, to the firm and serve as president of the division. He will work out of Relativity’s Beverly Hills, Calif., offices and report to the company’s COO and head of its sports group, Happy Walters, who represents 12 NBA players.

FEGAN
With the deal, Relativity Sports will now represent more than 50 NBA players, making it one of the largest basketball player practices in the U.S.

“For Relativity, it makes us much stronger in basketball, that is the obvious,” Walters said of Fegan joining Relativity.
Neither Fegan nor Walters would discuss financial terms of the deal.

The partnership comes just five months after Fegan left Lagardère Unlimited, and sources said Fegan and Lagardère have settled all outstanding issues between them, including future fees.

A Lagardère official declined to comment, while Fegan would only say he left Lagardère on amicable terms.

The deal comes seven months after Relativity Sports was launched by film studio Relativity Media and it expands the agency’s basketball footprint. Relativity Sports was established after it acquired SFX Baseball, which represents about 75 major league players, as well as Maximum Sports, which represents about 50 NFL players.

Walters said adding Fegan was a key move, not just because of his client list, but because of additional areas where he can add value to the group.

“Dan has had No. 1 draft picks; he’s done all the negotiating you can do, but Dan is ready to help build a business and that is what we are excited about,” Walters said. “That is what we want to put together here. A lot of smart guys who have a lot of experience looking at how we want to grow sports in the future. What intangibles are we going to be able to identify and monetize and grow businesses around in the future?”

Fegan met with Relativity executives, including CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, prior to joining the company. Fegan said the potential opportunities of what Relativity Media could bring to his clients appealed to him. He noted the difference a production company and content producer could make when it comes to the sports talent representation business, as opposed to talent agencies in the space.

“There has always been this desire on the part of athletes to cross over and to actually be affiliated with TV and movies, and to a certain extent music,” Fegan said. “One of the reasons I don’t think it works well with a talent agency, quite frankly, is all of the best opportunities are going to go to their acting and TV talents. … We are going to do what other talent agencies have tried and failed at.”

By joining together, Relativity Sports will now represent more than 10 percent of the players in the NBA. Because of the size of team rosters, the NBA is the U.S. team sport with the fewest players — only 450. A few agencies represent the majority of NBA players, and Fegan joining Relativity only solidifies this trend, as it joins agencies including CAA Sports, Wasserman Media Group, Priority Sports & Entertainment, BDA Sports and Excel Sports Management.

Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
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