Upstart Gem Agency plans its first moves
Gem Agency, the new baseball player representation firm launched by veteran Major League Baseball agent Greg Genske and the equity fund of former Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks, plans to soon expand by hiring more agents and opening more offices.
“We will have announcements soon,” Genske said. “We are in discussions on several different fronts.”
Genske and the Hicks family’s private equity arm, Hicks Equity Partners, announced the launch of the firm earlier this month with an eye toward building a boutique agency servicing a select number of clients. The client list currently includes Houston Astros pitcher Roberto Osuna, Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Tommy Pham and Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Justin Turner.
The firm will be based in Dallas, where Hicks is based, and Laguna Beach, Calif., where Genske calls home.
“As a former owner of several teams, the one thing I am sure of is that players’ salaries will continue to go up, as the industry itself grows and prospers,” Hicks said in a prepared statement to SBJ. “And we view Gem Agency as a good investment opportunity, because we think Greg will build a classy boutique that will grow faster than the industry.”
Gem will employ Hicks’ son, Alex Hicks, and Eric Izen as agents. Genske said it is possible the agency would expand into other sports, but for now baseball is the focus.
“I am looking forward to bringing a different approach into the representation business, and part of that approach is going to be including former clients who are leaders in the sport and true ambassadors of the game to add their knowledge and experience to an already robust representation agency,” he said.
Meanwhile, the MLB Players Association is now overseeing a dispute between Genske and his former employer, TLA Worldwide, which was relaunched as GSE Worldwide earlier this year.
As reported in SBJ (Feb. 18, 2019), Genske first sued TLA Worldwide in California state court in January after he was removed as president of baseball. TLA Worldwide countersued in federal court, but according to letters from lawyers on both sides of the case, the MLBPA has stepped in and is now arbitrating the dispute.
“We have ongoing issues that need to be resolved by the players association, and I anticipate will be resolved in the near future,” Genske said.
■ WME PARTNER BECOMES MLBPA-CERTIFIED; SIGNS CORREA: WME partner Jon Rosen has become a certified MLBPA agent and signed Astros shortstop Carlos Correa as a client for both on- and off-the-field representation.
Rosen is the first agent at WME to obtain a union certification to negotiate playing contracts. Unlike Creative Artists Agency, whose CAA Sports division employs multiple agents certified by the MLPBA, NBPA, NFLPA and NHLPA, WME up until now has stuck to representing star team athletes for marketing, entertainment and other off-the-field work.
Correa was previously represented by Genske. “I enjoyed my relationship with Carlos for seven years, and I wish him nothing but the best,” Genske said.
Rosen helps lead WME’s non-scripted television department. Based in New York, Rosen represents personalities across television and sports, including soccer icon David Beckham, retired MLB player Alex Rodriguez, Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America,” and Al Roker of “Today.”
■ CAA SPORTS SIGNS ROOKIE PITCHER: CAA Sports has signed rookie Detroit Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull.
Turnbull, a right-handed starting pitcher, will be represented by a team of agents at CAA Sports led by Kent Matthes and Jeff Berry. He was formerly represented by Wasserman.
Turnbull, a second-round pick in the 2014 MLB draft, made 30 starts this past season and was second among American League rookie pitchers in strikeouts and fourth in ERA. Still, Turnbull ended up notching only 3 wins and 17 losses. He will be arbitration-eligible after the 2021 season.