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Volume 20 No. 41
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TLA hires execs, creates division

TLA’s event business this year will include a college game in Sydney, Australia.
TLA Worldwide has hired three new talent marketing executives to replace people who recently left the agency.

The company also has created Talisman Sports and Media, which will focus on the sale of existing sports rights within TLA, and will co-promote a rugby match between the U.S. and Irish national teams at Red Bull Arena in June (see related story) and produce two other events.

On the personnel front, TLA has hired Sam Fagin as senior director of talent marketing, Howard Schwartz as senior vice president of sales and marketing and Steven Weinreb as senior vice president of consulting and marketing.

Fagin, who most recently worked at Roc Nation, and Schwartz, who formerly worked at CKx on brand activities for the late Muhammad Ali, will both begin work today. Weinreb, who most recently worked at CelebExperts, will begin work March 3. All will be based out of New York.

TLA launched when talent marketing firm The Agency merged with MLB representation firm Legacy Sports. Since then, “we diversified from solely a talent agency in 2011 to a multiplatform global company that produces events and provides sports marketing services to athletes, brands and properties across the world,” said Michael Principe, TLA Worldwide’s CEO.

Several original principals have signed new five-year deals, but two principals and founders of The Agency, Jordan Bazant and Peter Raskin, left the company. Bazant is now at WME and Raskin founded a new firm, Rubicon Talent. Former TLA marketing agents David Maryles, Jonathan Salant and Brandon Swibel, all of whom originally came from The Agency, are working at Rubicon.

Three other TLA principals who were part of The Agency — Andrew Witlieb, Russ Spielman and Kevin Canning — are still with the company. Witlieb and Spielman are overseeing sports marketing, and the three new hires will report to them.

“We are not even close to being out of the talent business,” Witlieb said. “These are our first three hires to replace the guys who left in 2016.” More hires will be announced in the coming months, he said.

TLA represents athletes and other sports personalities such as broadcasters for marketing and off-the-field work. Marketing clients include PGA Tour golfer Jim Furyk, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston and New York Jets center Nick Mangold.

Its baseball division, meanwhile, represents more than 100 MLB players on the field, including Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts and San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner.

That division negotiated $215 million in playing contracts this MLB offseason, including Justin Turner’s four-year, $64 million deal to join the Los Angeles Dodgers. Talisman Sports and Media is based in London and was formed last year in partnership with Simon Thomas and Andrew Guy, who formerly were executives working in sports content sales for Fox International Channels.

Talisman will work to deliver commercial media rights to TLA events, as well as to brands and sports properties, Principe said.

TLA continues to expand its events since first collaborating with USA Rugby on a match between the New Zealand All Blacks and USA Eagles at Soldier Field in 2014. In addition to the June rugby match at Red Bull Arena, this year TLA is staging an NCAA season-opening football game between Stanford and Rice at Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Australia, on Aug. 26 and a soccer game between Argentina and Brazil at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 9.

“We have grown from one event in 2014 to six in 2016,” Principe said. “We have three major events in 2017 so far and we are going to unveil more as the year develops.”