Over the past few years, Career Sports Entertainment, re-branded as CSE, has seemed to focus less on the representation of athletes with regards to their contractual negotiations, and more on assisting major brands in their sponsorship initiatives, aiding television networks with content and production, and providing full service support to sports properties. However, the company’s client representation division has continued to thrive, with the Atlanta Braves’ Jason Heyward becoming the face of their player representation business. The following image appeared on CSE’s “Individuals” page as of May 8, 2011:
Yet, Heyward is no longer a client of the sports & entertainment company. As reported by Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Heyward has dropped CSE as his agents and will likely sign with Casey Close, who has recently gone from being an agent at Creative Artists Agency to joining Jeff Schwartz at Excel Sports Management. It is assumed that Heyward chose to make the switch because of Victor Menocal’s departure from CSE in April 2011. Menocal first started at CSE in the Summer of 2005, when I was interning for the Atlanta, Georgia based company.
This is what Heyward stated to Bowman:
“Right now, my only reason for doing this was to get a fresh start. I know there are some things changing around there. Victor left, and that was totally unexpected. But some other people left also as far as in marketing and [public relations] and things like that. I figured this is only Year 2 of my career. I figured if I was going to start fresh, I need to start fresh completely and give myself a chance that I can count on to be there consistently for my whole career.”
This is a huge blow to CSE’s baseball division. Not only do they lose a player who is destined to earn ridiculous money throughout his career, but Heyward also could have been used as a major benefit in the recruitment of future clients. Instead, rival agents will use Heyward’s quote, above, against CSE on the recruitment trail. Last year, Baseball America named Heyward the Rookie of the Year in the National League. He has not yet reached arbitration eligibility; CSE will lose out on a lot in future commissions.