SBJ/February 13-19, 2017/Labor and Agents

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  • Potential No. 1 pick leads Bus Cook’s class for NFL draft

    Veteran NFL agent Bus Cook has signed a large class of prospects, including Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, who some draft analysts see as the potential No. 1 pick in this April’s draft.

    “Myles Garrett is, without question, the safest pick as far as someone who is going to come in, play and make an immediate impact,” Cook said. “He’s very fast, quick, has the great spin move in the mode of Von Miller to get that shoulder in there and get underneath that tackle. … He’s very strong. He’s very smart, studies the game.”

    Garrett, who was a unanimous All-American last season, was No. 1 overall on CBS Sports’ mock draft last week.

    Rob Rang, CBS Sports NFL draft senior analyst, said the defensive end is the best athlete in this draft class. “His combination of size, burst and bend off the edge and power make him a future Pro Bowl edge rusher, which behind only quarterback is the most valued position in today’s game,” Rang said.

    Quarterbacks are increasingly valued by teams, but this year’s class may not be the best for the position, Rang said. “The quarterbacks this year are far from sure things, whereas Garrett is viewed as close to a ‘can’t miss’ as anyone in this class.”

    Cook has represented both a quarterback and a defensive end who were taken first overall in the last several years. He repped Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who was picked No. 1 in 2014, and quarterback Cam Newton, the No. 1 pick in 2011. Cook also is known for being agent to Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, but he was drafted with the No. 33 selection in the second round in 1991.

    For this year’s draft, Cook also has signed North Carolina running back Elijah Hood, Texas A&M offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor and Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle. Cook represents the players with BC Sports agent Don Weatherall.
    Cook’s BC Sports is based in Hattiesburg, Miss., about four miles from Favre’s alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi. Cook signed several players from Southern Miss, including defensive end Dylan Bradley, offensive tackle Wil Freeman and quarterback Nick Mullens.

    > ALLEN TO INSTITUTE: Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen has signed with the Institute for Athletes for representation.

    Institute for Athletes founder Blake Baratz and agent Barry Gardner are representing him on the field. For marketing and other off-the-field endeavors, Baratz is representing Allen with Dan Everett of Everett Sports Marketing.

    Allen was slotted No. 3 overall in the CBS Sports mock draft last week.

    > WASSERMAN SIGNS KLAY THOMPSON: Wasserman is representing Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson both on and off the court.

    Greg Lawrence is Thompson’s lead agent at Wasserman. He was formerly represented by BDA Sports.

    > LEAHY SIGNS ON AT CAA: Creative Artists Agency has signed television host and sports reporter Kristine Leahy for representation in all areas.

    A team of agents will represent Leahy, who co-hosts NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” and “The Herd With Colin Cowherd” on Fox Sports 1 and Premiere Radio. She was previously represented by WME.

    > BARRY PICKS UTA: United Talent Agency has signed ESPN game and studio analyst and former NBA player Jon Barry for representation.

    Jerry Silbowitz and Ryan Hayden will represent him. He was formerly represented by CAA.

    > OCTAGON SIGNS GOLFER: Octagon has signed Australian golfer Cameron Davis, who recently turned pro, for representation.

    Ross Chouler, Octagon senior director of U.S. golf, will represent Davis, 21, who won the Australian Amateur in 2015.

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

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  • Lagardère promotes executives Danzi, Riccio

    Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

    Lagardère Sports has promoted two executives to newly created positions.

    Jay Danzi, best known as agent to golfer Jordan Spieth, has been elevated to U.S. chief operating officer. Marc Riccio, who joined the company last year as part of Lagardère Sports’ acquisition of his experiential marketing business, Rooftop2 Productions, has been named executive vice president for U.S. commercial sales and business development.

    RICCIO
    DANZI
    Danzi, who was president of golf consulting, will report to Andy Pierce, Lagardère Sports’ president and CEO for the Americas. Riccio will report to Danzi.

    The moves create a centralized sales division for Lagardère Sports’ U.S. operations and is the natural progression from the strategic hires and acquisitions made by the U.S. division of Lagardère Group, a global media conglomerate based in Paris.

    “We are continuing our growth,” Pierce said. “Our aspiration is to be a global solution for brands, talent and sports properties. … Part of that — to make sure we are equipped to handle and realize that aspiration — is to develop an organizational structure.”

    Danzi came to Lagardère Sports in October 2013, a few months after Pierce was named to head U.S. operations, and brought with him Spieth, as well as a golf consulting practice. Danzi will continue to manage Spieth, 23, currently ranked No. 6 in the world. Spieth has won nine times on the PGA Tour, including two majors, since joining Lagardère Sports as a client.

    Riccio joined Lagardère Sports in August of last year, keeping his title of president of Rooftop2 Productions.

    Lagardère Sports conducted an extensive search to fill the head of sales position before naming Riccio for the job, Pierce said.

    Having one centralized sales business in the U.S. accomplishes two goals, Pierce said. “It accelerates the business that already exists on the golf and tennis and consulting and media side,” he said. “It also gives us the ability to look at new things, new properties or new rights we should manage or sell.”

    Lagardère Sports manages 300 athletes in golf, tennis, the NFL and MLB, including golfer Phil Mickelson, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, NFL defensive player of the year Khalil Mack of the Oakland Raiders and Boston Red Sox outfielder Brock Holt. It also manages golf and tennis events, including the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open and the ATP/WTA’s Citi Open.

    Lagardère Sports also works for sports properties, including representing the NFL in Germany for social media work and representing the NHL in selling sponsorships in Europe for last year’s World Cup of Hockey. In corporate consulting, Lagardère Sports counts Citi, Bridgestone, MetroPCS and MetLife among its clients.

    Additionally, Lagardère Sports’ media division markets media rights globally for sports properties, including the Boston Marathon, three FIFA associations and 19 ATP events around the world.

    Pierce and Danzi are friends and worked together before, at IMG in the late 1990s and 2000s. Danzi said last week that he has been wearing many hats as the company has grown over the last few years.

    “Our growth has been fantastic,” Danzi said. “What this role does is give me officially the opportunity to help [Pierce] continue on the path that we were on and look at different areas for growth.”

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