Headline Sports Agents Sports Business

Net Profit Or Future Rebound?

The following article is a guest contribution from Jason A. Davis, Esq.  He is new to twitter @JasonDavisEsq1.

What will Jay-Z be able to accomplish as a sports agent? Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
What will Jay-Z be able to accomplish as a sports agent? Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

As an attorney and sports fanatic, I often find myself at the intersection of where sports and law meet. This intersection is not always peaceful and is often times the locale of some bizarre and frightening collisions.  One such potential collision is when a rap mogul suddenly enters the scene as not only a new “athlete agent,” but apparently as the new “it” agent.

Much has been said about Jay-Z and the Roc Nation explosion on to the sports agency scene. I admire the reckless abandon to which Jay-Z has brazenly entered this profession.  His magnetic gusto and undeniable charisma have served him well in the music industry.  Also, his business sense and savvy are undeniable. However, it seems to me that Jay-Z and Roc-Nation are walking a fine line. The confident apparent arrogance of a former spectator, now agent, may appear to some in the industry as “still sipping mai tai(s), sitting courtside, Knicks and Nets giv(ing  him) high fives” acting like he can “trip a referee.” If not played correctly, this anthem can come across as sounding more like “I wish I was a baller.”

Needleless to say, Jay-Z has talent.  He also has the current “it” factor along with the star power that is drawing a few high profile athletes to the Roc Nation client list.  I find this cohesion as being similar to the 2011 Miami Heat team; packed full of talent, yet apparently lacking the team mentality to bring home the final prize.  Obviously, with time and experience, the team that has the combination of talent and teamwork can create a repeat championship group that implies a dynasty in the making.

In Jay-Z’s case, he has the star power draw.  However, does he have the knowledge of the rules, associated agent assistance, and the unseen infrastructure to facilitate these high profile clients, and growing client list?  I ask myself, “If I was an elite athlete, would I want Jay-Z and Roc Nation to represent me?”  I certainly wouldn’t mind the instant media attention this relationship would garner. Also, it would be nice to be known by the new company I keep.  This situation seems parallel to whether I would want Michel Jordon to drop my name during a conversation, or not. Of course I would.  However, would I want him to give a “hall of fame induction style” speech on my behalf – probably not. I personally would rather have the behind the scene production from a Scott Boras or Mike Moye agent, than just the star power and flash of an upstart agency.

The way I see it, the Jay-Z/Roc Nation enterprise is either going to be a magnanimous Miami Heat style success, or a potential harvest field for disenfranchised athletes looking for new representation after the gloss of the Roc Nation agency has worn off.  Therein lies the rebound potential.  A lot of folks have been upset by entrance of Jay-Z and Roc Nation. I say, give him a chance.  He is already in the game, let’s see how he does.  If nothing else, he has been a galvanizing addition to the sports agency world and has generated a lot of new attention to the industry. Competition always increases the quality of a product.

These, however, are simply musings and opinions of an uninvolved third party.  Time will tell if Jay-Z and the Roc Nation team will be a long standing contender in the arena of sports representation or just a temporary flash in the pan. Either way, I think it will take a while to see what happens. Just like other passings at the intersection of sports and law I can’t help but watch – collision or not.

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.