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Is CSMG Something Of The Past?

csmgWhat do Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Devin Harris, Udonis Haslem, Dee Brown, Anthony Parker, Ronnie Brewer, Michael Finley, Shaun Livingston, Quinton Ross, Denham Brown, Marcus Taylor, Loukas Mavrokefalidis, and Marcellus Sommerville all have in common?  Their primary agent is Henry Thomas, formerly of CSMG.  This weekend, it was reported (via Twitter) that Thomas will be leaving the Chicago-based company to join the ranks of the most powerful agency in the United States: Creative Artists Agency.  As reported, all of the clients listed at the top of this post will be following Thomas to CAA, where Thomas will be managed by Leon Rose.

Am I surprised by the move?  No.  Almost two year’s ago, I asked on this blog, Is CSMG Still The Place To Be? The company was just coming off of terminating its CEO, laying off several employees, having its founder step down as chairman of the board of directors and had a signed separation agreement with one of its major NFL player agents.  Thereafter, the CSMG football division vanished.  The company was left with a strong baseball and basketball division…until Octagon bought out CSMG’s very strong baseball client list and the agents working on their behalf.  Roughly twenty CSMG employees and over one-hundred-and-forty baseball players switched hands in the deal.

Since the deal between CSMG and Octagon in October 2008, CSMG had one thing to focus on: basketball.  The company’s website currently reflects that fact.  Dwyane Wade’s likeness is all over the homepage, the client sites listed are Henry Thomas’s players, and the only clients listed are those playing basketball.  Will CSMG close up shop for good now that Thomas is leaving for CAA?  The company has had internal issues for quite some time now, and Thomas’s departure may just be the final step to dismantling an entity that was once #6 on Jason Belzer’s Sports Agency Power Rankings.

As listed on CSMG’s website, there are only two Executive Officers: Henry Thomas (President) and Ginger Gordon (Chief Financial Officer).  No need for a CFO if there is no President.  And CAA grows again..

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 Something Of The Past?”

But is CAA really going to be the best place for athletes? CAA knows all about the film business, and I'm sure they can learn about professional sports, too, but I think they're biting off more than they can chew.

It's not about CAA \”learning\” professional sports. CAA has been acquiring the most successful agents from existing agencies. These agents know what they are doing and have strong track records.

CAA is the best right now. They have the strongest client lists, and continue to grow. They have among the best agents in each sport working for them. It's a powerhouse

I cannot argue with that statement; however, I do believe that as CAA continues to become a larger and larger powerhouse, it is not a place for everyone. Some athletes will prefer to go with smaller boutique agencies. It would be naive to think that CAA will put the same amount of energy into a 10th round baseball player as they would Dwyane Wade.

Well, CAA wont represent many 10th round baseball players for the reason being they don't have the time or energy to invest in such players. Since they're so good, there able to represent the top talent. I think when it comes down to it, the athlete will go with the agent(s) they feel most comfortable and confident in. There are a bunch of great agents..but when your really going places and you have the choice..your going to want a top agent at a top agency. CAA is just one of the major players, that keep taking up bigger shares of the top talent. It just tough to compete with a CAA..i'm sure all the other agencies can't stand them for it.

Darren, with Henry Thomas taking all his clients to CAA and a top agent who did an amazing job with Wade's endorsement, where do you now rank CAA ahead of its rivals such as WME, IMG, Octagon and BEST who have a similar strategy to buy out agents?

Also what happened to the sports agent who was at William Morris, Lon Rosen I think?

Kam: My post from yesterday reveals my opinion of how the industry now stands. CAA is on its own level, with other giants like Octagon, WMG, and BEST just a step below in power. Lon Rosen is now with BEST.

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