Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media and Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies unveiled a new sports agency on Monday, Relativity Sports.
Relativity already owned a basketball agency, Rogue Sports, boasting more than 150 clients across baseball, basketball, football, coaching and broadcasting. The new agency combines that firm with Maximum Sports Management, a football unit with clients like Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and SFX Baseball, which boasts Marina Rivera, Justin Verlander and the Boston Red Sox’ David Ortiz.
“Relativity Sports serves as a perfect launching pad for us to continue to grow our entertainment business. This alliance offers athletes turnkey access to a true merger of sports and entertainment,” Kavanaugh, Relativity’s CEO, said in a statement. “In addition to their careers in professional sports, we can offer athletes opportunities in film, television, music and gaming.”
As Kavanaugh’s statements suggest, there is a real interest in extending its stable of sports stars into the entertainment space. Relativity sees this agency as competing with the major powers in the space, such as the Wasserman Media Group, Boras Corp and CAA.
Indeed, while many Hollywood agencies represent athletes for their off-the-field interests, CAA has been the most aggressive and most successful in securing playing contracts. It represents more than $4 billion in annual contracts.
“This partnership marks a new evolution in sports agencies and we couldn’t be more pleased to help open new platforms to the world’s best athletes,” Burkle said in a statement.
Burkle is a part-owner and major investor in Relativity. He lent the company $200 million last November, took a minority stake in January and led a $350 million round of debt financing in May.