After firing his agent immediately following the NFL Draft, it was widely speculated that Geno Smith would eventually hire Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports to represent him. Today, all speculation was put to rest as Smith confirmed that he has indeed signed with Roc Nation Sports. Smith joins Robinson Cano (New York Yankees), Victor Cruz (New York Giants), and Sklyar Diggins (Tulsa Shock) as Roc Nation Sports clients.
Unlike the Cano, Cruz, and Diggins’ deals, however, Roc Nation Sports will not be sharing management duties with CAA or another sports agency. Roc Nation Sports will maintain total management of Smith’s on and off the field negotiations.
Jay-Z’s influence, brand building, and marketing genius certainly speak for themselves. However, no matter how business savvy he is, there’s no crash course that would allow him to become a certified NFL agent overnight. So how exactly was Roc Nation Sports able to pull off the exclusive signing of Smith?
Jay-Z ultimately applied that hustler’s spirit he’s wildly known for and wisely hired a certified agent that’s already established within the business. Kimberly Ann Miale, formerly of Madison Avenue Sports and Entertainment, joined the Roc Nation Sports team as a Contract Advisor. Her first client is Geno Smith. But could the hiring of Miale complicate the relationship between Roc Nation Sports and CAA?
Darren Heitner of Forbes.com believes so based on the perceived terms in which CAA and Roc Nation Sports initially entered their relationship. Per Heitner, “Cruz is an excellent example of how the partnership between Roc Nation Sports and CAA was likely first envisioned to operate. CAA handles the player’s team contract negotiations and Roc Nation Sports works with the player for off-field opportunities.” But with Miale now in the mix, CAA’s value wanes considerably, especially when CAA was using Jay-Z’s relationships and influence as bait to land them big fish clients such as Cano, Cruz, and Diggins. Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sports are no longer limited to solely managing marketing opportunities. Miale allows the young agency the opportunity to live up to its “full-service sports management” billing, and most importantly keeps all the money in-house.
It’s still too early to know Jay-Z’s ultimate vision for Roc Nation Sports. However, I foresee Roc Nation Sports building a formidable roster of certified agents across all major sports; eventually eliminating the need to share clientele with CAA, altogether.
As Roc Nations Sports signs more clients and continues to make headlines, I’ll keep you updated. The sports, entertainment, marketing, and entrepreneur lover in me can’t help but be a bit obsessed with the progression of Jay-Z’s latest empire, Roc Nation Sports.