(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Washington Post recently reported that Arn Tellem, one of the biggest sports agents in the business, may soon be leaving SFX Sports Group. SFX bought Tellem’s firm in 1999 for a reported $25 million before being taken over by Clear Channel Communications, a story which may resonate with music industry professionals who saw the same thing happen to smaller talent agencies across the country.
An anonymous source within SFX told the Post, "Arn has the loyalty of every agent in this place. Within six months, the entire basketball and baseball staff would be out the door with him. … If they let him leave, it would say to us that they aren't willing to grow the business." Should this happen SFX Sports Group could lose more than 200 athletes currently represented by the company.
Tellem, who represents such superstars as Tracy McGrady, Reggie Miller, Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui, could take a serious chunk out of the $100 million per year revenue that SFX Sports Group reportedly earns. Joe Bell, who used to work for Octagon explained the situation to the paper. “In this industry there is no big advantage to being with a big agency. Athletes follow people, not a company name. If any of the top agents in these big companies moves to his own office across the street, the athlete is going to get the exact same service. That's cause a good agent is experienced at marketing their people and negotiating contracts.”
David Moross, managing partner of Sports Capital Partners agreed with Bell, telling the Washington Post, “The assets of these companies are the agents themselves. They tend to have large egos and know they are in control, which makes them difficult to manage. If the asset goes down the elevator at the end of the day and doesn't come back up the next, you've paid a fortune for what?”
Many agents decided to join the larger conglomerate companies in the hopes that it would help increase endorsement deals for their athletes and perhaps even get them a music or movie contract. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the dangling carrot used to lure agents in.
Although Tellem’s contract expired on September 29th, an SFX spokeswoman assured the Washington Post that they are confident Tellem will stay at the firm. The Post also mentioned that sources within SFX say the company will offer him a larger role. Despite that, the same sources say he has privately said that he does not want to make a long-term commitment to the company.
One source inside SFX Sports Group tapped into the collective feelings of many agents, regardless of whether they represent athletes, musicians or performers, when he told the paper, “We don't fit in. Clear Channel is a staid old company, and we're hip. We should have been spun off from the beginning. They demand unrealistic year-to-year growth even while their stock has taken a beating this year.” –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers