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Volume 20 No. 42

Labor and Agents

Jay-Z and two other Roc Nation Sports executives met last month in person with MLB Players Association officials at the union’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan regarding their applications to become certified to represent baseball players in talks with MLB clubs.

Jay-Z (whose real name is Shawn Carter), Roc Nation President Juan Perez and Roc Nation Vice President Rich Kleiman applied for MLBPA certification in April.

“We have met with them,” said Rick Shapiro, MLBPA senior adviser. “We have had some follow-up conversations. The review process remains under way.”

MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner will make the final decision on whether to grant Jay-Z, Perez and Kleiman certification to represent MLB players. “It is not at all unprecedented to meet with applicants,” Weiner said in an email last week. He declined further comment on the meeting.

A Roc Nation Sports spokesman declined to comment.

Roc Nation Sports launched April 1 and announced that it had signed New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano in partnership with CAA Sports as its first client. CAA Baseball co-head Brodie Van Wagenen is co-representing Cano and is certified by the MLBPA to represent him for on-field work. But Jay-Z, Perez and Kleiman have sought certification from the MLBPA — which, if granted, would allow them to represent Cano and other MLB players in playing-contract work.

Roc Nation has said it intends to be a full-service sports agency and that it would have its executives seek certification in all the major sports as well as hire established sports agents.

As of last week, the MLBPA was the only one of the four major sports unions where Jay-Z and other Roc Nation executives had applied for certification. The firm did, however, hire Kim Miale, an NFL Players Association-certified agent, to represent New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith in contract talks.

The NFLPA made an inquiry last week into whether Miale may have been party to a violation of an NFLPA regulation known as the “runner rule,” which prohibits people who are not certified agents from recruiting players for certified agents, sources said.

Asked, in a follow-up email, whether the NFLPA’s inquiry would affect the MLBPA’s decision on whether Roc Nation Sports executives would be certified, Shapiro wrote back, “Our regulations are different than those of the NFLPA and our certification process is independent.”

Liz Mullen
IMG has signed Hall of Fame quarterback and Fox NFL broadcaster Terry Bradshaw for representation in broadcasting, marketing, sponsorship, endorsements and new business ventures.

Bradshaw will be represented by a team of agents led by Ira Stahlberger, IMG senior vice president of clients.

Bradshaw has long been represented by Hollywood agent David Gershenson and is represented for speaking by the Washington Speakers Bureau. He is under a broadcast deal with Fox. In the past, Bradshaw has endorsed Nutrisystem and the Miller Lite brands, but Stahlberger said he did not believe Bradshaw was under contract with any brand now.
“I think he has been non-marketed,” Stahlberger said. “He is one of the few iconic legends in the NFL and he’s on the air all the time. He’s won four Super Bowls and two [Super Bowl] MVPs. There are not many guys who were that good on the field and also on the air today.”

Sandy Montag, IMG senior corporate vice president and head of the clients division, said that Bradshaw reached out to him about representation through a mutual friend. Montag called Stahlberger and Alan Zucker, IMG senior vice president and managing director of talent marketing, who represents quarterbacks and brothers Eli and Peyton Manning, and both were excited about the prospect of signing Bradshaw, Montag said.
“One of the good things our clients group does is manage former athletes and continue to build their brands,” Montag said. Among the former athletes who are IMG clients are golfer Arnold Palmer, quarterback Joe Montana and tennis player John McEnroe.

In addition to his NFL playing and broadcasting career, Bradshaw has written five books and appeared in films and television shows. He has been on “The Tonight Show” 30 times and was scheduled to appear on the show later this month to promote his one-man show, “Terry Bradshaw: America’s Favorite Dumb Blonde … A Life in Four Quarters,” in which he will sing and tell stories and jokes at the Mirage in Las Vegas on June 28-29.

Stahlberger said IMG may look to NFL sponsors for endorsement and other deals for Bradshaw but that they were not targeting any specific brand or category.

> FORMER NFL AGENTS WORKING IN FINANCIAL SERVICES: Jim Steiner and Ken Kremer both built big careers as NFL agents, first as rivals and then as partners at CAA Sports. Now both will be working in the financial services industry in sports.
Kremer has been hired as an insurance agent with New York Life Insurance Co. in Overland Park, Kan., near Kansas City, after completing the Investment Company Products/Variable Life Contracts Representatives Exam, commonly known in the insurance business as the Series 6 Exam. Steiner, meanwhile, has joined Morgan Stanley Wealth Management after successfully completing the firm’s training requirements.

As reported in this column last year, both Steiner and Kremer planned second careers after retiring from the agent business. Both spent the last six years at CAA Sports. Kremer was an NFL agent for 25 years and was the longtime partner of former IMG NFL agent and current CAA Football co-head Tom Condon. Steiner worked in the NFL agent business for 35 years, including at the former SFX Sports with Ben Dogra, who is also a CAA Football co-head.

In their new careers, Steiner and Kremer won’t be working together, but they won’t be competitors, either.

“Competitors?” Steiner wrote in an email to SportsBusiness Journal. “Certainly not. He’s in the insurance business. I am in the wealth management business. … I hope he kills it.”

Both, meanwhile, said they are excited about their new careers. “I love it,” Kremer said. “I think it’s a much different business. It’s not necessarily better or worse, [but] I think it is less stressful.”

> BORAS SIGNS MLB PLAYERS: The Scott Boras Corp. has signed Baltimore Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Trevor Rosenthal for representation. Boras will represent them.

> BDA SIGNS NBA PROSPECTS: BDA Sports has signed prospects for this month’s NBA draft, including Colorado forward Andre Roberson, Saint Mary’s point guard Matthew Dellavedova and BYU center Brandon Davies. Bill Duffy, Ugo Udezue, David Mondress and Rade Filipovich will represent the players.

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

The NFL Players Association got $2.16 million from video game maker Electronic Arts in the 12 months ended Feb. 28, well below the more than $30 million annually the union had previously taken in, according to the group’s annual report, filed last week with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Between 2007 and 2011, EA paid an average of $32.3 million to the union, according to previously filed NFLPA annual reports, known as LM-2s. In the period around the 2011 NFL lockout — March 1-11, 2011, and July 26, 2011-Feb. 29, 2012 — the NFLPA received $569,000 from EA. The NFLPA did not have to disclose figures for the lockout period because it was not operating as a union during that time.

EA long had been the union’s top commercial licensee. It is possible EA might have adjusted the structure of its payments to the NFLPA during and prior to the lockout.

EA declined to comment; the NFLPA could not immediately be reached for comment.

The EA decline appears to have had an effect on the overall commercial revenue flowing into the union. In the NFLPA’s annual report, commercial income largely encompasses “other receipts,” an amount that was $105 million in the most recent 12-month period. In the last full-year filing period (for the 12 months ended Feb. 28, 2011), “other receipts” was $129 million.

The LM-2 uses cash and not accrual accounting. So if a company made a large payment one day past the end of the LM-2 12-month period, it would be reflected next year.