SBJ/Aug. 12-18, 2013/Labor and Agents

Two months yields five NFL veteran signings for Lagardère

Liz Mullen
Lagardère Unlimited has signed five veteran NFL players over the last two months, the latest being Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, who joins the football practice led by Joel Segal.

“Bobby is a special player and strives to be great,” Segal said.
In addition to Wagner, Lagardère Unlimited also has signed Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Dan Williams, and San Francisco 49ers cornerbacks Chris Culliver and Tarell Brown.
 
Segal represents the players with Lagardère Unlimited agents Chafie Fields and Greg Barnett. Fields is the lead agent on Wagner and Culliver, while Segal will be the lead agent on Jackson, Williams and Brown.

Wagner left Blueprint Management Group last month, after departing from Priority Sports & Entertainment in early 2013. It is not clear why the sudden representation shift.

Meanwhile, Jackson was formerly represented by Rosenhaus Sports, Williams was represented by Five Star Athlete Management, Culliver was with Watson Sports Agency and Brown was represented by E. Overstreet Sports Management.

Lagardère Unlimited represents about 70 NFL players. Segal, who has been representing NFL players since 1993, said he can’t remember signing so many high-profile veterans in the same time frame.

> INSIDE THE OCTAGON: David Yates, a veteran golf agent and executive, plans to hire some young agents to help him grow a golf player representation practice, essentially, from the ground up.

Yates joined Octagon last month as managing director, golf, after working as senior vice president of Lagardère Unlimited’s golf division (formerly Gaylord Sports Management) for 13 years. Prior to that, he was a vice president at IMG, where he started his career.
 
Yates brought one longtime client of his, Mark Calcavecchia, with him to Octagon. Previously, he managed the careers of golfers Bernhard Langer, Nick PriceHal Sutton and Ian Baker-Finch, among others.

Octagon has major talent representation practices in the four major sports, as well as tennis, Olympics and action sports, but the agency only had one existing golf client, instructor Hank Haney, prior to Calcavecchia coming aboard.

Phil de Picciotto, Octagon president, hired Yates to grow the business, stating “his international experience and the way he does business align perfectly with our operating philosophy.”

“It’s a tall order,” Yates said. “It’s a challenge. But I am energized and I am flattered that Phil de Picciotto, who I have a lot of respect for, would ask me to do this. It was a great opportunity and a chance to do something I wanted to do, which is I wanted to see if I could build a golf division.”

In growing the practice, Yates said he would be open to signing top women golfers, but his primary focus will be to sign players who are or will be PGA Tour players.

> JONES PICKS CAA: Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who had been co-represented by CAA Sports agent Jimmy Sexton and SportsTrust Advisors agent Pat Dye, will now be represented solely by CAA Sports and Sexton going forward.

Sexton and Dye were former partners in SportsTrust Advisors when they signed Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, but Sexton left to join CAA Sports in December 2011. Sexton and Dye had been co-representing Jones since then.

“Julio has informed us that we will no longer be co-representing him,” Dye said last week. “We understand that, realistically, he couldn’t go forward with both co-representatives.”

> WASSERMAN SIGNS BROADCASTER: Wasserman Media Group’s golf division has signed broadcaster Lauren Thompson of the Golf Channel for representation in all areas. Wasserman agents Sam MacNaughton and John Mascatello will represent Thompson. She was previously unrepresented.

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

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