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Volume 21 No. 1

Labor and Agents

Houston Texans running back and three-time Pro Bowler Arian Foster, who scored an acting part in the major motion picture “Draft Day,” has hired entertainment agency WME to represent him.

WME will represent Foster across all areas of entertainment, including film, television, literature, music, digital media and endorsements.

The Texans running back is an aspiring actor.
Foster’s team at WME will include commercial agents Todd Jacobs, Jamie O’Hara and Rob Koslowsky; acting and talent agents Brad Slater and Brandt Joel; and agent for unscripted entertainment Josh Pyatt.

WME will work with Foster’s business manager, Humble Lukanga, and his attorney, Joseph O’Hara. Foster is represented by NFL player agent Mike McCartney of Priority Sports & Entertainment for contract work.

WME met Foster through the filming of “Draft Day,” an Ivan Reitman-directed film in which Foster plays Ray Jennings, a running back who is drafted by the Cleveland Browns.

“We didn’t help him get the role, but what it said to us is Arian is such a dynamic human being off the field and that is what really excites us,” Jacobs said.

Over the summer, WME has negotiated multiple national endorsement deals, and Foster is slated to appear in more than one national commercial. “We have some national deals that we can’t disclose right now, but the commercials have been shot and they will be appearing during the NFL season,” Lukanga said.

Foster has endorsements with Under Armour, Kroger and Fuse Science, deals that were negotiated by Raleigh-based agency French West Vaughan. Agency Vice President Jay Wisse said Foster and the firm have parted ways and that the parting was amicable.

In addition to “Draft Day,” which is scheduled for release next year, Foster has appeared in the CBS TV show “Hawaii Five-O.”

Lukanga described Foster as “a serious actor” who also writes poetry and scripts. “You are talking about someone who has been addicted to the arts his whole life, and while knowing what his focus is, we want to implement the right plan to allow him access to those platforms that he is very, very passionate about,” Lukanga said.

Liz Mullen
Lagardère Unlimited has signed five veteran NFL players over the last two months, the latest being Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, who joins the football practice led by Joel Segal.

“Bobby is a special player and strives to be great,” Segal said.
In addition to Wagner, Lagardère Unlimited also has signed Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Dan Williams, and San Francisco 49ers cornerbacks Chris Culliver and Tarell Brown.
Segal represents the players with Lagardère Unlimited agents Chafie Fields and Greg Barnett. Fields is the lead agent on Wagner and Culliver, while Segal will be the lead agent on Jackson, Williams and Brown.

Wagner left Blueprint Management Group last month, after departing from Priority Sports & Entertainment in early 2013. It is not clear why the sudden representation shift.

Meanwhile, Jackson was formerly represented by Rosenhaus Sports, Williams was represented by Five Star Athlete Management, Culliver was with Watson Sports Agency and Brown was represented by E. Overstreet Sports Management.

Lagardère Unlimited represents about 70 NFL players. Segal, who has been representing NFL players since 1993, said he can’t remember signing so many high-profile veterans in the same time frame.

> INSIDE THE OCTAGON: David Yates, a veteran golf agent and executive, plans to hire some young agents to help him grow a golf player representation practice, essentially, from the ground up.

Yates joined Octagon last month as managing director, golf, after working as senior vice president of Lagardère Unlimited’s golf division (formerly Gaylord Sports Management) for 13 years. Prior to that, he was a vice president at IMG, where he started his career.
Yates brought one longtime client of his, Mark Calcavecchia, with him to Octagon. Previously, he managed the careers of golfers Bernhard Langer, Nick PriceHal Sutton and Ian Baker-Finch, among others.

Octagon has major talent representation practices in the four major sports, as well as tennis, Olympics and action sports, but the agency only had one existing golf client, instructor Hank Haney, prior to Calcavecchia coming aboard.

Phil de Picciotto, Octagon president, hired Yates to grow the business, stating “his international experience and the way he does business align perfectly with our operating philosophy.”

“It’s a tall order,” Yates said. “It’s a challenge. But I am energized and I am flattered that Phil de Picciotto, who I have a lot of respect for, would ask me to do this. It was a great opportunity and a chance to do something I wanted to do, which is I wanted to see if I could build a golf division.”

In growing the practice, Yates said he would be open to signing top women golfers, but his primary focus will be to sign players who are or will be PGA Tour players.

> JONES PICKS CAA: Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who had been co-represented by CAA Sports agent Jimmy Sexton and SportsTrust Advisors agent Pat Dye, will now be represented solely by CAA Sports and Sexton going forward.

Sexton and Dye were former partners in SportsTrust Advisors when they signed Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, but Sexton left to join CAA Sports in December 2011. Sexton and Dye had been co-representing Jones since then.

“Julio has informed us that we will no longer be co-representing him,” Dye said last week. “We understand that, realistically, he couldn’t go forward with both co-representatives.”

> WASSERMAN SIGNS BROADCASTER: Wasserman Media Group’s golf division has signed broadcaster Lauren Thompson of the Golf Channel for representation in all areas. Wasserman agents Sam MacNaughton and John Mascatello will represent Thompson. She was previously unrepresented.

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