Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Agency is Growing

Yankees 2B Robinson Cano (left) signs a contract with RocNation Sports as Jay-Z looks on.

Yankees 2B Robinson Cano (left) signs a contract with RocNation Sports as Jay-Z looks on.

The world of sports business is a complex, intimidating cacophony of contract negotiations, lockouts, and holdouts. With contracts growing by the year in most major sports, sports agents are becoming more valuable assets for superstar athletes. So who better to represent the biggest athletes today than a multimillionaire record producer, entrepreneur, and star entertainer? Meet the newest agent in town: Jay-Z.

A music mainstay since 1986, Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) has achieved great fame and fortune in his musical career. Jay-Z has established many brand names for clothing, shoes, and other businesses, earning the hip hop artist hundreds of millions of dollars. In the mid-2000s, Jay-Z purchased a minority ownership share of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, and spearheaded an effort to move the Nets to Brooklyn, NY in 2012.

In March 2013, ESPN reported Jay-Z was in the process of forming his own sports agency, a subsidiary of his record label  RocNation. In a press release, Jay-Z stated, “Our newest endeavor is committed to building the brands of professional athletes as we have done for some of today’s top music artists.”

Many athletes have realized the potential of RocNation Sports and have joined the firm. The first signee was New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who left prominent agent Scott Boras to join Jay-Z. Cano, 30, is in the final year of a long-term contract with the Yankees, and is currently undergoing negotiations with Yankees management. Also partnered with RocNation is Skylar Diggins, the former women’s’ basketball star from the University of Notre Dame. Diggins, who won two Big East Player of the Year awards in college, joined RocNation after being drafted 3rd overall in the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Tulsa Shock.

The third member of RocNation’s “roster” of clients is Geno Smith, a rookie quarterback for the New York Jets. Smith was projected to be the first quarterback taken in the 2013 NFL Draft this past April, but slipped to the second round and was taken with the 39th pick by the Jets. Smith dismissed his agent after the NFL Draft, which generated national headlines for his mysterious fall from the top of the draft board.

Apparently another superstar athlete is following suit and joining RocNation. This morning, ESPN reported that Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson fired longtime agent Drew Rosenhaus and is seeking representation from Jay-Z. Per NFL rules, Jackson must wait five days to speak with other representative agencies. Jackson is entering the second year of a 5-year, $51 million contract. The addition of Jackson, however, would prove that RocNation is indeed a national firm and can attract and represent the best athletes in the world.

The business is young, but with names like Cano, Diggins, and Jackson, its reputation is growing rapidly. Of course, it helps when the leader of the firm is an established, highly successful businessman and entertainer. But Jay-Z has already established himself as a sports businessman with his ownership of the Nets. Now he’s turning the page to a new chapter of his business career: one that will include the biggest names in professional sports.

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