By Barry Janoff
April 2, 2013: Musician and entrepreneur Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter has been in the sports pages a lot due to his association as a minority investor and business partner with the NBA's Brooklyn Nets.
Now, one of Carter's enterprises is moving into new, albeit related, territory.
Roc Nation, a multi-dimensional entertainment company founded in 2009 by Jay-Z, has launched Roc Nation Sports, described as "a full-service sports management company," which has partnered with the sports division of management and marketing giant Creative Artists Agency, based in Los Angeles.
“Because of my love of sports, it was a natural progression to form a company where we can help top athletes in various sports the same way we have been helping artists in the music industry for years,” Jay-Z said in a statement.
In turn, Roc Nation Sports, which will be led by Jay-Z and president Juan Perez, unveiled its first client: Robinson Cano, second baseman with the New York Yankees. Cano's photo in Yankees' pinstripes and shot inside Yankee Stadium was posted on the Roc Nation Web site earlier today. with the text, "Welcome Robinson Cano to the Roc Nation Family!"
Roc Nation Sports said it would assist Cano and other athletes it intends to sign in both their on- and off-field endeavors, the latter including marketing deals and entertainment contracts. Cano will personally be represented "on the field by a team of agents led by CAA Sports’ Brodie Van Wagenen," according to Roc Nation Sports and CAA.
Financial terms of the Roc Nation Sports-CAA Sports alliance and the Roc Nation Sports deal with Cano were not disclosed.
"I am confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and CAA Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short- and long-term goals."
Cano had been represented by super agent Scott Boras. Media reports confirmed that Cano, who is in the last year of a six-year, $57 million contact with the Yankees, has officially cut ties with Boras.
Cano has been named to the All-Star Team four times since making his MLB debut with the Yankees in 2005. Last month, the native of the Dominican Republic was part of the national team that won the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
According to the 30-year-old athlete, the move will have major ramifications in both his playing and business future.
“At this point in my career, I am ready to take a more active role in my endeavors both on and off the field,” Cano said in a statement. “I am confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and CAA Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short- and long-term goals. I am making this important decision now so I can keep my focus on helping the Yankees succeed in 2013, while minimizing any distractions for me and my teammates."
Roc Nation said that the talent it represents "partake in full-rights deals, which are all encompassing and include ticket sales, record sales and all forms of endorsements." Roc Nation said that its management division "oversees several aspects of client handling including live bookings, endorsement deals, tours, and licensing deals."
Among the artists on the Roc Nation roster are Rihanna, Shakira, J Cole, Rita Ora, Calvin Harris, NO ID, Timbaland, Solange, M.I.A., Santigold and deadmau5.
"Jay Z and his team at Roc Nation have successfully orchestrated powerful brand and business-building opportunities for their clients,” Michael Levine, co-head of CAA Sports, said in a statement. “We look forward to combining our wide-reaching resources on behalf of top athlete clients like Robinson Cano to help them accomplish their goals on and off the field."
CAA Sports said it represents more than 800 athletes in such sports as baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, tennis and golf, as well as coaches, on-air broadcasters and sports personalities. Beyond traditional athlete representation, CAA Sports said it provides "unique opportunities for clients off the field, in areas including licensing, endorsements, speaking, philanthropy, and video games [and] also works in the areas of broadcast rights, corporate marketing initiatives, and sports properties for sales/sponsorships.
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