Tellem cuts ties with SFX, takes client base with him
Saying he wants to be in control of his own destiny, superagent Arn Tellem has cut his ties with SFX Sports.
"We've done very well and I have no regrets," said Tellem, who resigned from his role as chief executive. "But I think we have a unique opportunity to have a sports agency which will endure for many more years."
Tellem said that, within the next two months, he expects to announce an alliance with a global company whose main business is in sports.
The move comes a year after Tellem signed a new deal with the SFX Sports. Tellem sold his Tellem & Associates practice to the entertainment giant in 2000 for a reported $25 million. As part of the deal, Tellem had an option to buy out his more than 100 players, as long as he did it by this Friday.
Tellem says he'll take all his clients with him after exercising that option for an undisclosed amount.
Tellum's clients include NBA players Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'Neal and Pau Gasol. His baseball clients include Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, Nomar Garciaparra and Barry Zito, among others. Tellem said he will take the group of five agents he oversees with him as well.
The parting won't mean an end to the SFX company, which is owned by media giant Clear Channel.
SFX represents more than 500 athletes worldwide including the ones the organization picked up in other acquisitions of sports agencies such as David Falk's FAME (Michael Jordan). Other SFX sports clients include Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander, golfers Rory Sabbatini and Scott Verplank and tennis players Andy Roddick and Paradorn Srichaphan. The organization will announce on Tuesday that the lead agents in each sport will jointly run the agency.
The alliance between Tellem and SFX, which owns or operates about 130 venues across the country and promotes more than 30,000 entertainment events annually, was thought as a natural, especially as the line between sports and entertainment blurred. But deals between the athlete and the entertainment world didn't materialize as a result of the partnership.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.