Sports Business

BEST Becomes Better

In Jason Belzer’s recent Sports Agency Rankings, he put Blue Entertainment Sports Television (BEST) at number three, behind WMG and CAA. Many people have never even heard of BEST before, so how could it be ranked higher than a juggernaut known as IMG (International Management Group)? IMG is much older than BEST, but in a very short amount of time, Jonathan Blue, Chairman of Blue Equity, has built a sports empire by literally buying out some of the top agents and agencies in the sports representation business.

If you can’t beat them, buy them. Blue’s latest acquisition is Fegan & Associates, led by agent, Dan Fegan. Fegan is a big boy in the world of basketball, representing names like Shawn Marion, Yi Jianlian, and Jason Richardson. All of his clients join the already large stable at BEST, which had been and will most likely continue to be run by Bill Strickland. Before joining BEST, Strickland was in charge of Black Wave Media. By looking at the company’s name alone, you would not think it was a basketball agency, but you would be wrong. BEST acquired Black Wave and now it adds a Fegan to the fold.

Before adding Fegan, BEST already boasted a client list of Joakim Noah, Rasheed Wallace, Corey Brewer, and many other big time ballers. Before the acquisition of Fegan and Associates, BEST was hanging around with the likes of CSMG and Interperformances when it came to its basketball division. Now, I would put it up with ASM Sports and Excel Sports Management. They are definitely in the top tier, but still just one step below the big three basketball agencies: WMG, BDA, and Priority Sports.

With more and more mergers by the week, what does it say for a young agent/agency trying to break in? How will others compete against WMG, BDA, Priority, and now BEST? If you are not a part of one of the four aforementioned agencies but are trying to build up a solid basketball division, what will be your strategy and what tactics will you employ?

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.