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Volume 24 No. 112

Labor and Agents

MLB player agent Casey Close "has joined the practice of NBA agent Jeff Schwartz as a partner in a deal that will make the firm Schwartz founded, Excel Sports Management, a player across two major sports," according to Liz Mullen of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Close, who recently left CAA Sports, is "expected to bring with him" several of his clients, including Yankees SS Derek Jeter, Phillies 1B Ryan Howard and Orioles 1B Derrek Lee, among others. Under an agreement with CAA, Close "will continue to serve as Jeter’s and Howard’s baseball contract player agent, but Close and CAA share the marketing responsibilities" for the two sluggers. Both Close and Schwartz will work out of N.Y. Close said, "Our plan is to make sure we are industry leaders in both baseball and basketball as well as client marketing. We want to be known for that, while looking for strategic opportunities in other representation and marketing businesses." Schwartz said that ESM is "not planning to acquire any new companies or businesses right away." Mullen notes Close and Schwartz have a "friendship spanning 19 years, going back to when they were first hired as young agents working in the Cleveland office of IMG in the summer of 1992" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/11 issue).