By Gary J. Nix
Sports agencies negotiated $45.7B in current professional athlete contracts
Only 2 entertainers own sports agencies, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z
The third prominent sports agency with a hip hop artist at the helm became the first with a top-3 pick in the NFL Draft, when Nicole Lynn signed Quinnen Williams to upstart Young Money APAA Sports’ roster. Hip hop’s influence on athletes is unmatched and the business of sports has leveraged black music as a draw for athletes and fans alike in the multi-billion dollar world of sports agencies.
Why This Matters: The recent illustration of this intersection between sports and culture propelled Young Money APAA Sports slate of nine football clients to be drafted this year. Lil Wayne’s agency exists in an ecosystem where roughly 75% of NFL players are represented by only 17% of all certified agents. So, for Young Money APAA Sports to land a football player of Williams’ stature is not only a coup of sorts, it’s proof of concept.
Historically, mechanical royalties, product endorsements, and minority ownership have made up the bulk of the entertainer/sports business relationship. However, only three artists have been able to make real noise with sports agencies: (1) Master P, No Limit Sports Management (founded 1999, now defunct); (2) Jay-Z, Roc Nation Sports (founded 2013); and (3) Lil Wayne, Young Money APAA Sports (founded 2016).
The evolution of the music and its personalities has affected the way many athletes view income, both while active and post-career. As a matter of fact, before Jay-Z got Roc Nation Sports which Forbes ranks as #26 on the World’s Most Powerful Sports Agencies, 2018 with $28.9 million in commissions and $935 million in contracts off the ground, he was known for mentoring LeBron James and his business colleagues. One of the businesses borne in part out of those meetings was Klutch Sports helmed by Rich Paul and it lands at #30 on Forbes World’s Most Powerful Sports Agencies, 2018 with $25 million in commissions and $625 million in contracts.
Situational Awareness: New athletes are poised to take even more control over their finances and business dealings. Case in point, Rashan Gary, former University of Michigan DE founded Rashan Gary Sports, his own agency before being drafted #12 by the Green Bay Packers.
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