WME brings in several NFL broadcasting clients
Editor’s note: This story is revised from the print edition.
WME has quietly signed a number of sports broadcasting clients in the last year, including former NFL players-turned-broadcasters Dwight Freeney, Ryan Clark and Marcus Spears.
Additionally, former Detroit Pistons head coach and President Stan Van Gundy has returned to Jim Ornstein, WME’s head of sports broadcasting, as a broadcasting client. Ornstein, who represents Van Gundy’s brother, current ESPN basketball analyst and former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy, previously had represented Stan for broadcasting.
At WME, agents work in teams with one or more agents leading the effort. Clark, a former NFL safety who has been an ESPN NFL analyst since 2015, is being represented by Sharon Chang, Stan Kaufman and Jordan Bazant. He formerly was represented by ICM Partners.
WME agent Josh Levy is exploring a broadcast deal for Freeney, a seven-time Pro Bowl and three-time All-Pro defensive end who retired this spring after playing 16 years in the NFL. He previously was not represented for broadcasting.
Spears, a former defensive end who played nine seasons in the NFL and who is now a college football analyst on the SEC Network, is being represented by Ornstein. Spears and CAA parted ways in 2016.
Ornstein also signed ESPN golf analyst Michael Collins, who previously was represented by Octagon, and ESPN radio host and former New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, who formerly was represented by the Buchwald agency.
Ornstein and WME agent Dan O’Connor signed ESPN college football reporter Maria Taylor in February and recently negotiated a new multiyear deal for her with the network. She formerly was represented by CAA.
Additionally, WME is now representing ESPN host and commentator Michael Smith, with Chang, O’Connor and Levy as lead agents. He formerly was represented by CAA.
■OCTAGON FOCUSING ON WNBA: Octagon is putting a greater focus on representing WNBA players, recently signing Washington Mystics guard Kristi Toliver for representation in all areas, including playing and coaching.
Erin Kane, who was Octagon’s vice president of sales for North America, is now a vice president in the basketball division, led by NBA agent Jeff Austin. Kane represents Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne and now represents Toliver. Toliver formerly was represented by Sports International Group.
Toliver made headlines this summer when she was an assistant coach on the Washington Wizards summer league team and she’s interested in coaching in the future.
Kane is also the agent for retired women’s softball player Jennie Finch and Major League Lacrosse midfielder Paul Rabil, and she will continue to represent those clients. But going forward, Kane will focus on recruiting basketball players. “I am fully committed to the basketball division at Octagon and growing and developing a roster of female talent,” she said.
■ NFL AGENT CHANGES: CAA Sports has signed Los Angeles Rams guard Jamon Brown. Agent Todd France is representing him. Brown formerly was represented by Rich Sports Management.
Also, Steelers linebacker Farrington Huguenin has signed with ProSource Sports Management agents Jeff Guerriero, Elizabeth Guerriero and Bryan Creekmore. Huguenin had been represented by attorney Christopher Reid, but Reid said he has been forced to retire from the NFL agent business for health reasons.
“I have a rare, degenerative form of Ankylosing Spondylitis, which makes it impossible to fulfill the work needed for the NFLPA,” Reid said in an email, adding that he was disclosing this because he did not want Huguenin’s agent change to reflect negatively in any way in his pursuit of an NFL career. “Farrington is one of the best people I have met,” Reid wrote.