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Is CSMG Still The Place To Be?

CSMG recently acquired Arizona Cardinals quarterback and budding actor, Matt Leinart, but the company has seen a big downsizing ever since. To put it plainly, and directly from the mouth of Liz Mullen at

[CSMG] has terminated its CEO, laid off several employees, saw its founder step down as chairman of the board of directors and has a signed separation agreement with one of its major NFL player agents [Big changes at CSMG].

The founder/chairman is Alan Nero. He says that he has stepped down voluntarily. Who knows? What is certain is that CSMG wants to spare itself from any bad press.

Here is a little bit of what I was able to dig up. Apparently, Michael Hall (the terminated CEO) had a difference of opinion with Alan Nero. Hall wanted CSMG to become more marketing based, focusing more on the endorsement side of the business of sports. This is understandable if you think about the fact that Hall had more than 20 years of experience as an advertising executive at Leo Burnett prior to joining CSMG. The problem is that Nero did not follow Hall’s theory. This was one area of tension. In addition, CSMG has been investing a lot of money on grassroots projects lately with little return on investment.

Basically what we have here is a situation where there is a lot of money being spent on projects that aren’t amounting to anything while the company is split over whether to focus more on contractual negotiations or marketing deals.

With all this being said, the company hopes to remain as an important entity in the athlete representation business. They will be hiring more agents, looking for a new CEO, and trying to acquire new clients.

One thing that should really hurt CSMG is the departure of agent Kennard McGuire. He will be creating his own agency, and it will be interesting to see how many of his roughly 17 clients leave CSMG with him. If a majority of them leave with McGuire, it could substantially hurt the company.

-Darren Heitner

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

6 replies on “Is CSMG Still The Place To Be?”

Can McGuire expect a lawsuit if the majority of his 17 clients leave CSMG to go with him? I know this happened in a similar case a couple of years back with a big NFL agent.

Some guys like McGuire have clauses in their contract that if certain execs leave the parent company, they can walk as well and take all the clients they wish.

Tom Condon had a clause in his at IMG that allowed him to walk and take every IMG client with him.

McGuire could be sued, but it wouldn’t stop him from taking clients, or clients following him.

I wonder if Fletcher is going to leave as well, Ken and Fleth were very close and I couldn’t see one leaving and one staying.

after reading the sbj article on it, it looks like he can walk and take what clients he wishes. they mention, on several occasions that he has a “seperation agreement” which likely spells out the terms of what he can do and can’t do…

It seems that McGuire will be ok with his departure. I don’t think we will be seeing another Steinberg/Dunn situation

I’m interested to see if McGuire stays “independent” or signs up with a larger firm (maybe Blue like Segal?).

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