MLB Players Sports Business

Octagon Acquires Bulk Of CSMG

A little over a year ago, I reported on the internal struggles over at CSMG headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.  The company was spending a lot of money being on projects that had not yet amounted to anything worthwhile and the company was split over whether to focus more on contractual negotiations or marketing deals.  Meanwhile, founder Alan Nero stepped down as chairman, they were looking for a new CEO, and agent Kennard McGuire left with seventeen CSMG clients.  But it did not seem like the company took a gigantic hit after that news was released, and other than reports here and in SportsBusiness Journal, no one was really talking about CSMG losing much ground in the industry.

In his well written but controversial Sports Agency Power Rankings, Jason Belzer ranked CSMG at #6, wedged between #5 Octagon and #7 Career Sports & Entertainment.  He noted, CSMG has not had recent success in the NBA draft, but its MLB division continues to grow and is one of the largest amongst all agencies.  At the time of Belzer’s post, #5 Octagon was actually deep into negotiations with CSMG about acquiring that strong baseball division along with its coaches, broadcast, legends and marketing divisions.  The deal has just been sealed, and the aforementioned Nero along with roughly twenty CSMG employees and over one-hundred-and-forty CSMG clients will now fall under the Octagon umbrella.

What does this do to the sports agency landscape?  In terms of athlete representation, I believe this move firmly establishes Octagon as a memeber of a new big four (CAA, WMG, Octagon, BEST).  IMG has been going away from its traditional athlete representation business to different kinds of business opportunities in collegiate licensing opportunities, television deals, etc.  It is still a very powerful entity in the sports business world, but has a markedly different composition than the big four.

CSMG will still exist as a basketball operation, with names like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Ronnie Brewer headlining Henry Thomas’ practice.

Octagon becomes a behemoth in the world of representing baseball players, CSMG’s shareholders will make good money on the sale, and former internal strife seems to have been calmed before any storm let loose.  When a top high school baseball player is looking for an advisor, what company will be more enticing: Boras Corp or Octagon?

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.