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Volume 20 No. 42
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Knoxville firm known for football adds second hoops client

Liz Mullen
Allegiant Athletic Agency (A3), a Knoxville, Tenn.-based athlete representation firm known mostly for its NFL player client business, has signed its second NBA player: Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ramon Sessions.

A3 partner and NBA player agent Jared Karnes will represent Sessions. He was previously represented by agent James “Chubby” Wells.

Ramon Sessions of the Cavaliers has signed with Allegiant Athletic Agency, or A3.
Karnes’ partner in A3 is agent Chad Speck, who represents about 20 NFL players, including Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, and New England Patriots defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth.

“We’ve worked with some coaches, but mainly our focus is football and basketball players,” Karnes said. A3 also represents Chicago Bulls guard C.J. Watson.

Karnes said it is more difficult, in his opinion, to develop an NBA player practice than an NFL player practice. Among the reasons, he said, is that there are far fewer NBA players.

“With football, you can gamble on guys who you think are going to make it on the rosters,” he said. “With basketball, everyone knows who the best players are. They know who they are when they are in high school.

“If you do research on the agents who represent the players in the first round of the NBA draft,” Karnes said, “you will see a pattern. There are about eight different groups that represent those players.”
NEW AGENCY FOR FORMER ORNSTEIN CLIENTS: New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and free agent wide receiver Terrell Owens are among the clients previously represented by jailed marketing agent Mike Ornstein who now are listed as clients of agency Fritz Martin Management.

James Fritz is owner and CEO of Fritz Martin Management, according to the agency’s website. Fritz did not return phone calls for this story.

Ornstein is serving an eight-month sentence for two felony counts involving scalping Super Bowl tickets and selling NFL jerseys falsely advertised as being worn by NFL players in games. Ornstein was in a minimum security prison in Florence, Colo., last week.

Attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. His attorney did not return two phone calls.

Ornstein’s scheduled release date is Nov. 27, according to a public information officer for the Florence facility.

Prior to going to prison, Ornstein indicated that his sports marketing firm, Santa Monica, Calif.-based The Sports Link, where Fritz worked, would continue while he served his prison sentence. “Every one of our clients is staying with us,” Ornstein told SportsBusiness Journal in October 2010.

Calls to a previously known phone number for The Sports Link rolled over to Fritz Martin Management.

Payton, Owens and other former clients of The Sports Link were listed as clients of Fritz Martin Management on its website last week. A Saints’ spokesperson and Payton’s coaching contract agent did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Robert Bailey, who does marketing for clients of NFL player agent Drew Rosenhaus, including Owens, said in a text message, “Fritz and I both do marketing for T.O.”

In 2009, Ornstein began co-representing Owens with Bailey (SportsBusiness Journal, Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2009). Asked if Ornstein would be co-representing Owens for marketing work when he was released from prison, Bailey texted back, “No clue.”
SIGNINGS FOR FRANCE, CAA SPORTS: NFL player agent Todd France has signed Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas for representation. Douglas was previously represented by agent David Rich. … CAA Sports has signed ESPN’s Linda Cohn, who for years has been one of the network’s mainstay anchors on “SportsCenter.” At CAA, Cohn will be represented by a team of agents, featuring Becky Sendrow, Andy Elkin, Tom Young and Trace Armstrong. She was formerly represented by Playbook.

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