Forty Under 40
Van Wagenen not only started out on the team side, but in a different sport: working as a paid intern for the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan years.
He then worked at the now-defunct, ill-fated Athlete Direct/Broadband Sports, which during the dot-com boom created websites for a number of famous athletes before it shut its doors in 2001. Although that company failed, Van Wagenen negotiated more than 150 online rights deals for athletes and later was hired by IMG, where he worked for prominent MLB agent Casey Close.
Van Wagenen was one of the first employees of CAA Sports, going there with Close when it launched into sports in 2006. Since joining CAA, Van Wagenen has helped negotiate more than $1.25 billion in guaranteed contracts and more than $100 million in endorsement deals.
In the past two years, he has been a leader of the team at CAA Baseball that has negotiated $654 million in player contracts, including the five-year, $105 million contract extension for Braun with the Milwaukee Brewers last April. In addition to playing contract deals, Van Wagenen has negotiated endorsement deals for his clients with brands such as Subway, Powerade, Google, Coca-Cola, Comcast and Geico.
One of the things Van Wagenen says he is proudest of was negotiating a deal for Halladay to join the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009. As he puts it, “Roy wanted a chance to win.”
At CAA, Van Wagenen said, agents work collaboratively, and the reason they’ve had success is simple.
“We have always kept our eye on the fact we work for the player,” he said. “The player doesn’t work for us.”
Title: Co-Head, Baseball
COMPANY: CAA Sports
Education: B.A., communication, Stanford University
Family: Wife, Molly; children Piper (9), Rafe (7) and Jack (6)
Career: Sales associate, Chicago Bulls; director of business development, Athlete Direct/Broadband Sports; vice president, baseball at IMG; joined CAA in 2006
First job: Special events intern, Chicago Bulls (1996)
Last vacation: December 2011 to Telluride, Colo
what's on your ipod? Joshua Radin
guilty pleasure: Graeter’s ice cream (Cincinnati)
pet peeve: Traffic on I-95 in New York
fantasy job: Jim Bowden’s sidekick on MLB Network Radio
what keeps you awake at night? Jeremy Guthrie tweets
business advice: Two separate thoughts: 1. Focus on the process and the results will follow. 2. Never leave work before your boss.