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Volume 24 No. 159

Labor and Agents

Mark Steinberg, the agent to Tiger Woods, has joined Excel Sports Management, the agency founded by powerful NBA agent Jeff Schwartz, as a full partner in the company. "We are excited to have Mark and to have Tiger join Excel," Schwartz said in a telephone interview this morning. “Mark is going to build a golf business for us.” Steinberg’s joining N.Y.-based Excel comes a few months after MLB agent Casey Close, who reps Yankees SS Derek Jeter, joined the agency. Steinberg, Close and Schwartz all started their careers in the sports industry at IMG about two decades ago. They became friends then and have maintained their friendships all these years, Schwartz said. Steinberg left IMG in late June and has been talking to other companies, including CAA and Lagardere Unlimited, prior to agreeing to join Excel. “After meeting with a number of agencies and businesses, I decided Excel was the perfect fit," Steinberg said in a statement. "I’m excited to serve as a partner in an agency positioned for growth and look forward to working with Jeff and Casey to build this business. It’s clear Excel is truly setting the bar for focused sports management while maintaining the access and service of bigger agencies. It is a tremendous opportunity to be a part of this team as it continues to set itself apart from the competition.” Schwartz said, "Mark and I grew up in the business together, and I have witnessed his growth as a leader in the golf industry with a lot of admiration and respect. It is unbelievable to be in a position to partner with both he and Casey to continue to grow Excel in a way that the three of us feel passionate about.” Close added, “The three of us have worked in parallel paths in our respective sports and I am excited for us to come together to build something very special.” Schwartz, who started out as a tennis agent before becoming a basketball agent, founded Excel in '02. The firm’s NBA clients include Celtics F Paul Pierce, Clippers F Blake Griffin, T'Wolves F Kevin Love, Mavericks G Jason Kidd and C Tyson Chandler, Lakers F Lamar Odom and Nets G Deron Williams. Excel’s MLB clients include Jeter, Phillies 1B Ryan Howard, Orioles 1B Derrek Lee, Braves RF Jason Heyward and 1B Freddie Freeman, Twins RF Michael Cuddyer and Nationals P Tyler Clippard.