SBJ/Nov. 4-10, 2013/Labor and Agents

Wasserman signs WNBA’s Rookie of the Year Delle Donne

Liz Mullen
Wasserman Media Group has signed WNBA Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne for exclusive representation in all areas.
Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Wasserman vice president, action sports and Olympics, will represent Delle Donne, a guard/forward on the Chicago Sky. Delle Donne previously was represented by her brother, Gene Delle Donne.

With the signing, Colas now represents 14 WNBA players, including Brittney Griner, Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird.

The Chicago Sky rookie wants to build her brand in the U.S., agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas says.
Photo by: NBAE / GETTY IMAGES
Delle Donna has endorsement deals with Nike, DuPont and nutritional supplement company Genesis Today. Colas, who represents basketball players both for playing contract work and marketing deals, said she plans on working to expand Delle Donne’s portfolio of corporate partnerships.

“We do represent her for overseas contract work, but going overseas is not her priority,” Colas said. “She is really focused on brand building in the U.S.”

> ARBITRATION POSTPONED: An arbitration case brought by Beverly Hills Sports Council against its former partner, MLB player agent Danny Lozano, was postponed indefinitely after the two attorneys representing BHSC withdrew from the case, multiple sources said.

BHSC was seeking $40 million in damages against Lozano, who left the firm in 2010, taking with him several star baseball player clients, including Albert Pujols and Joey Votto. The case had been scheduled to be heard over two weeks by a panel of three arbitrators, starting on Oct. 28.

However, sources said that the two attorneys who had been representing BHSC — Los Angeles-based personal injury attorney Brian Panish, and David Cornwell, an Atlanta-based attorney who represents professional athletes and agents — both withdrew from the case. Panish and Cornwell did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesman for BHSC declined to comment. A spokesman for MVP Sports Group, Lozano’s new agency, did not respond to requests for comment.

Under MLB Players Association rules, MLB player agents cannot sue each other in state or federal court but must resolve disputes under a confidential arbitration process that is overseen by the union.

> JOCKEY SIGNS WITH WILD TURKEY: Racehorse jockey Rosie Napravnik has signed a one-year deal with Wild Turkey, which features her in a 60-second national commercial.

Wild Turkey’s national spot will feature Napravnik.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
The deal was negotiated by Peter Carlisle, Octagon Olympics and action sports managing director, and Kelly Wietsma, president of horse racing marketing firm Equisponse. Carlisle and Wietsma joined forces earlier this year to represent Napravnik, who at age 25 has broken a number of records for female jockeys.

The Wild Turkey spot, titled “Never Tamed,” features five people who have, in some way, broken the mold in their work or sport. In addition to Napravnik, the spot showcases skier Chris Davenport, surfer Michael Sharp, Hollywood stuntman Tim Rigby and glass blower Caleb Siemon.

Carlisle said Wild Turkey approached them about Napravnik and that the campaign, which also includes a two-minute online spot featuring just Napravnik, is great for helping her build her brand. “It’s about her,” Carlisle said of the campaign. “It’s not even about horse racing. It’s about her and what she embodies.”

> KAUFFMAN SIGNS HOLLINS, OTHERS: Kauffman Sports Management Group, a Los Angeles-based agency that specializes in representing basketball coaches and general managers, has signed former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins for representation in coaching work. The agency also has signed a number of NBA assistant coaches, including Michael Longabardi (Phoenix), Mark Price (Charlotte), Andy Greer (Chicago) and Joe Prunty (Brooklyn), as well as former Milwaukee Bucks assistant Joe Wolf.

Agency founder Steve Kauffman and agent Spencer Breecker will represent the coaches.

“We feel certain that Lionel will become a head coach again in the near future,” Kauffman said of Hollins, whose contract with the Grizzlies was not renewed after last season. “We don’t sign an assistant coach unless we believe he has a chance to become a head coach. It’s just a matter of time.”

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

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