SBJ/Dec. 2-8, 2013/Labor and Agents

Relativity dropping ‘SFX Baseball’ name

In a move that would seemingly mark the end of the SFX Sports brand name in North America, SFX Baseball is changing its name to Relativity Baseball after being acquired by movie and television studio Relativity Media more than a year ago.

Relativity Media launched its Relativity Sports division in July 2012 by acquiring SFX Baseball and Maximum Sports Management, an NFL representation practice owned by veteran NFL agents Eugene Parker and Roosevelt Barnes. In February, it acquired the basketball representation practice owned by prominent agent Dan Fegan.

The football and basketball talent representation divisions took the Relativity name right away, but the baseball division, which represents 70 MLB players, including 12 All-Stars, kept the name it had when it was part of the former SFX Sports.

“I think we kept the name with the idea in mind that we were very much known by that, we were branded with that and our clients were comfortable with that,” said MLB agent and Relativity Baseball CEO Mark Pieper. “But our clients are seeing the benefits of this relationship and integrating into the many different platforms of the different facets of what Relativity does. … It just simply makes sense.”

Relativity Baseball employs 13 MLB Players Association-certified contract agents, making for one of the largest baseball representation practices in the business. Clients include two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

The baseball practice, which operates out of the Chicago area, was originally founded as Speakers of Sport by former MLB agents Jim Bronner and Bob Gilhooley, who have retired from the agent business. Speakers of Sport was one of many agencies rolled up from 1998 to 2000 to form the former SFX Sports, a division of the former SFX Entertainment. The sports group’s parts slowly broke off into independent agencies or were acquired after SFX Entertainment was bought by Clear Channel Communications in 2000. SFX Baseball was thought to be the last agency still using the SFX Sports name in North America.

There still is an agency that was once part of the old SFX Sports that retains the SFX moniker in Australia. Sydney-based SFX Sports manages about 200 players in the Australian Rugby League.

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