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Volume 24 No. 112

Labor and Agents

Yucaipa Companies Chair and Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle, along with Relativity Media, announced yesterday that they will be forming Relativity Sports. The new company is a result of combining SFX Baseball, football agency Maximum Sports Management and Relativity Media’s basketball agency Rogue Sports. Relativity Sports' clients include Knicks F Amar'e Stoudemire, Yankees P Mariano Rivera, Tigers P Justin Verlander, Red Sox DH David Ortiz, NFL Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and Lions DT Ndamukong Suh. The company also represents coaches and broadcasters (Relativity). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Liz Mullen notes as a "combined firm, Relativity Sports will represent about 140 MLB, NFL and NBA players." The company "will be based in Beverly Hills, Calif." While other Hollywood talent firms have "entered the sports representation business in the past, the deal here is notable in part for its scale." Starting with 140 players "aggressively positions Relativity in the sports talent representation business." Agent Happy Walters will "serve as the head" of the new company. Maximum Sports Management co-Owner Eugene Parker will "head the firm's football division," while SFX Baseball agent Mark Pieper will head the baseball division. Parker and Pieper "will report to Walters, who will report to Relativity Media CEO and founder Ryan Kavanaugh." The MLB agents will "continue to be based in Chicago; Parker and [Maximum Sports Management co-Owner Roosevelt] Barnes will continue to represent NFL players out of their offices in Fort Wayne, Ind." To date, Relativity has "produced, distributed and/or structured financing for more than 200 films." Walters said that Relativity plans to "expand into other areas of representation in the future and is eying properties and events for business, as well."  Walters "would not be more specific on those intentions." He said that Relativity "would not seek to expand into representing NHL players because of Burkle's ownership of an NHL club" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/16 issue).