In honor of Entourage: The Movie’s release this week, I felt compelled to touch base with the sports industry’s best agencies and representation. Unparalleled to Entourage’s portrayal of the agent, of whom Ari Emanuel is the influence behind Ari Gold’s character, the typical sports agent isn’t a one-man-centered gig. You won’t see Scott Boras taking a phone call from Jose Altuve in a therapy session with his wife. You’ll likely not witness Rob Pelinka taking a trip to Joshua’s Tree with James Harden.
Up until the last couple years, the top dog in both sports and entertainment agencies was the Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Although it’s been folding under competition with WME-IMG (Ari Emanuel’s agency) – and continues to lose agents/talent to rival United Talent Agency – CAA Sports still revels in its client portfolio, representing Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Cristiano Ronaldo and J.J. Watt.
Formed in 2002, Wasserman Media Group sponsors a wide number of action sports athletes with the likes of Baltimore-native Bucky Lasek, Paul Rodriguez, veteran Bob Burnquist and Ryan Nyquist. Other WMG cast members: USWMNT’s Heather O’Reilly and Anthony Davis.
While in a relationship with BMW and MasterCard for nearly 3 decades, Octagon stamped its presence in the agency scene 31 years ago. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Octagon Sports is a rising Sun in athlete representation. By representing 2015 NBA MVP/NBA Finalist, Steph Curry, it may see an increase in NBA player personnel.
Exclusively for entertainment – and not sports – Roc Nation formed in 2008 under owner, Jay Z. In its infant stages, Roc Nation Sports kick-started in 2013 – creating waves in headlines by structuring a contract with Robinson Cano. Other talent tied to the agency include Kevin Durant and Skylar Diggins.
California-instituted Relativity Sports took a fair share of signees thanks in large parts to this year’s NFL draft. They went ahead and acquired USC’s Nelson Agholor, Javorius Allen, Shaq Thompson of Washington and Mountaineer standout, Kevin White. Other top tier talent on Relativity Sports’ roster includes Madison Bumgarner, Patrick Willis and John Wall.
Chicago-operated Priority Sports employs talent, such as head coach Steve Kerr, Arian Foster, and Haloti Ngata. CEO Mark Bartlestein – alum to Illinois and Northwestern – is well-known as an NBA agent. Bartlestein’s resume of 38 NBA players include Bradley Beal, Nick Young and David Lee.
Finally, a New York-based firm, Lagardere Unlimited employs over 20,000 with strong ties to golf, tennis, football, baseball and soccer. Establishing contracts worth $1 billion, its portfolio are Patrick Peterson, Corey and Kyle Fuller, Andy Murray and Jordan Spieth.
Major agents and their clients:
Pat Brisson: Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, John Tavares, Max Pacioretty
Tom Condon: Peyton Manning, Ryan Khalil, Richard Sherman, Adrian Peterson
Rob Pelinka: Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Shabazz Napier
Dan Fegan: John Wall, Chandler Parsons, Kevin Martin
Scott Boras: Prince Fielder, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Eric Hosmer, Matt Holliday