Weekly News

Sports & Entertainment Impact Report 2016

July 13,2016 08:21

The veteran broadcaster continues to shine for Fox Sports, contributing feature stories and sideline insight for its NFL broadcasts and other major events, including Super Bowl XLVIII, the NFC Championship and Divisional rounds, the MLB All-Star Game ...

WME partners Brandt Joel, Jim Ornstein, Josh Pyatt, Jon Rosen, and Brad Slater, a core group of agents across the talent and nonscripted television departments, together with IMG agents Carlos Fleming and
Ira Stahlberger, form a powerhouse that has had huge success in focusing on taking athletes from the field to the screen. Repping such sports royalty as Kobe Bryant, Wayne Gretzky, Lewis Hamilton, Victor Cruz, Michelle Wie, and Rob Gronkowski, they've negotiated deals for Michael Strahan at "Good Morning America," and helped develop and negotiate pacts for LeBron James' production company, Ronda Rousey's film career, Cam Newton's Nickelodeon TV show "All In," Terry Bradshaw's NBC series "Better Late Than Never," and David Ortiz's new channel on Verizon's Go90 platform. They also rep many former NFL players who've transitioned to broadcasting — including Tony Gonzalez, Matt Leinart, Kurt Warner, and Tony Siragusa — as well as the next wave of sportscasters. "We look beyond an athlete's on-field performance to find the rare superstar who is charismatic, relatable, and entrepreneurially minded, and help them build their businesses across all platforms," note Ornstein and Pyatt.The veteran broadcaster continues to shine for Fox Sports, contributing feature stories and sideline insight for its NFL broadcasts and other major events, including Super Bowl XLVIII, the NFC Championship and Divisional rounds, the MLB All-Star Game, and the World Series. After dancing her way to the finals of season 10 of "Dancing With the Stars," Andrews returned in season 18, this time as co-host alongside Tom Bergeron. She became a hero for women as well, fighting and winning a lawsuit against a stalker. When asked about her best sports memory, she says: "There have been so many. The Richard Sherman interview, working my first Super Bowl in New York, being on the ice when the Tampa Bay Lighting won the [Stanley] Cup. But I would have to say, having my dad on the field following the Boston Red Sox's World Series win in 2013. My passion for sports comes from my dad, and he raised us on the Boston Red Sox. To be able to walk out to the Green Monster with my parents, after I just handed the team their trophy, was a dream come true." A veteran below-the-line agent who has added sports stars to his growing roster, Baine reps the Bella Twins and WWE superstar John Cena. He cut deals for Cena's roles in the hit films "Trainwreck," "Sisters," and "Daddy's Home," as well as
gigs hosting "American Grit," Fox's new 10-episode military-inspired competition series, and serving as brand ambassador
for the relaunch of global hard-body fitness and training brand Tapout. Cena will also
host this year's ESPYs and Teen Choice Awards. Baime is part
of the team that represents former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva,
who'll host the Brazilian version of Netflix's "Ultimate Beastmaster." "Clients are more entrepreneurial than ever before, and agents must be as well," Baime says.A fixture on ESPN, Beadle co-hosts "SportsNation," which earlier this year moved from ESPN2 to the flagship channel, alongside Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley. A valuable asset to the sports giant, she signed a multiyear pact with the network in January. Offering smart, sometimes acerbic, views on sports and pop culture, Beadle
is not afraid to call out her bosses on issues that are important to her. "There's very little difference between my TV self and everyday me," she says. "I think people can feel that. People felt that I was being honest." Now, she has a new show with Ramona Shelburne on radio, "one of the last bastions for women. It's a more freedom-based genre; you're not rushed. It's awesome. We talk about everything on the show."Forget the wrestler clichés — muscled dudes in weird outfits and weirder hairstyles — and check out WWE superstars Nikki and Brie, the Bella Twins. With a social media presence of more than 20 million followers, they've entertained fans around the world with their athleticism and personalities, and proved to be a powerful marketing force, as part of campaigns for Pepsi, DraftKings, Slim Jim, and Mike's Hard Lemonade. E! will debut "Total Bellas," a spinoff of the network's hit series "Total Divas," on Oct. 5. "In a male-dominated industry like WWE, being impactful was always important, but our goal will always be sending an inspirational message, affecting lives outside WWE," they note.As a leader in a huge and growing sideline of sports, Berry appreciates the passion players have for the game. Also known as Talented Mr. Roto, Berry pens a regular column for ESPN.com, hosts the "Fantasy Focus" podcast, and regularly appears on ESPN television and radio shows such as "NFL Live" and "NFL Sunday Countdown." "Fantasy sports are insanely popular," says Berry, who credits UTA agents Ryan Hayden and Jerry Silbowitz for helping to broaden his media platform. "Over 50 million people play fantasy sports, and 35 million of those play fantasy football. If there's a way to keep score of it, there's a way to play a fantasy version of it."With an NBA career spanning 20 years with the Lakers, Bryant is easily one of the most recognizable names in professional basketball. The recently retired 37-year-old baller is a five-time NBA champion. He became the youngest player in the league's history to reach 30,000 career points. Bryant also helped the NBA grow its audience base in China, where his jersey is still the top seller. He recently launched production company Kobe Studios; its animated short "Dear Basketball" is part of a deal with Sports Illustrated. The film, narrated by Bryant and directed by animation legend Glen Keane, with a score by music legend John Williams, will be distributed exclusively on SI's digital properties. Kobe Studios debuted with "Kobe Bryant's Muse" in February 2015 on Showtime and last August in China via a wide-ranging partnership Bryant has with Alibaba Group.Son of the broadcaster Jack Buck, who is in several sports halls of fame, play-by-play man Joe Buck has become a fixture at Fox Sports over the years. Buck, who has covered 18 World Series and four Super Bowls, added golf to his repertoire in 2015, covering the U.S. Open, and then, critics be damned, the 2016 Open. Last year, DirecTV ordered "Undeniable With Joe Buck," hosted by the Emmy-winning sportscaster. The 10-episode series, produced by Vince Vaughn's Wild West Prods., features in-depth interviews with Michael Phelps, Jimmy Johnson, Derek Jeter, and Wayne Gretzky. Buck's memoir "Lucky Bastard" is due out in November. "With the release of my book, and the addition of both the U.S. Open coverage and my show 'Undeniable' on DirectTV, I am always looking to expand my reach and exercise broadcast muscles people don't know I have," he says.Cena is hardly the first wrestling superstar to try his hand at ventures outside the ring, but the speed at which he's gone from a grappler who moonlights into a genuine crossover movie star has gotten even wrestling agnostics to take note. A longtime WWE mainstay, Cena dipped his toes into the multiplex water with roles in in-house productions like "The Marine" and "Legendary," but 2015 saw him excel in a completely unexpected genre: light comedy, with "Sisters," "Trainwreck," and a bit role in "Daddy's Home." Blessed with rock-solid comic timing and a core of unexpected sensitivity beneath his chiseled physique, Cena feels as natural on camera as his most obvious predecessor, Dwayne Johnson, and he's already back on the small screen as host of Fox's reality competition series "American Grit," as well as host of the ESPYs and co-host of the Teen Choice Awards.New York-based Danforth oversees the agency's sponsorship/athlete endorsements globally. Under his guidance, CAA Sports has completed more than $3.5 billion in new sponsorship business and orchestrated precedent-setting agreements for the new Yankee Stadium; the Marquee partnership deal at Madison Square Garden; naming rights for the San Francisco 49ers Levi's Stadium; and the recently announced Chase Center, future home of the Golden State Warriors. He has helped CAA become the foremost player-representation and sports-marketing agency in the U.S., repping more than 1,000 top athletes, coaches, on-air broadcasters, and sports personalities. "I have always believed that the key to success is to surround yourself with good, hard-working people with positive energy, who are not afraid to challenge you," he says.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. comes from a long line of NASCAR drivers: His father, Dale Earnhardt, is a Hall of Famer, and his grandfather was the renowned Ralph Earnhardt. But the Pied Piper of Daytona earned his fame on his own, winning the Daytona 500 twice. He joined his father's racing company, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., in 1998 and spent 10 years racing the No. 8 Chevrolet before switching over to Hendrick Motorsports, where he drives a No. 88 Chevrolet SS. He also owns champion racing team JR Motorsports. But Dale Jr.'s interests go beyond the track: His Charlotte, N.C.-based Hammerhead Entertainment is a full-service production and post-production company that creates content for such major networks and cablers as Fox, Velocity, ESPN, ABC, and Speed, as well as for blue-chip advertisers like Pepsi, Nationwide, Unilever, Chevrolet, Sprint, and Valvoline. In October 2014, Eisen launched his popular DirecTV show, "The Rich Eisen Show," with his engaging blend of insightful football analysis, offbeat humor, and coverage of pop culture. With his Twitter following at 1.07 million — the most of any national daily sports talk-radio host — he also attracts the biggest names in sports and entertainment. He continues to be the face of the NFL Network, anchoring its "Thursday Night Football" studio coverage, and hosts "NFL GameDay Morning." "I realized early on I had no crossover ability on the basketball court, so I figured, why not host my own show?" Eisen jokes.Gleason has championed innovative programs to grow America's original extreme sport, including a "retailtainment" program with Walmart; substantially increasing prize money; creating the PBR Majors; developing unique event formats such as Last Cowboy Standing; and striking deals with Las Vegas to produce Helldorado Days and move PBR World Finals to Vegas' new T-Mobile Arena. Available in 500 million homes worldwide, PBR has a base of 35 million fans. This season, viewership on CBS is up 20%, and the sport has set 10 local-event attendance records. "What's good for the athletes is good for our business," Gleason says. "We've created an empowering culture of personal accountability, and that helps
us give fans the best sports experience and sponsors a
direct connection to those passionate fans."Hayden and Silbowitz boast an enviable list of sports entertainment clients, including NBA All-Star-turned-sports-analyst Chris Webber, pro wrestling hall of famer and media personality Steve Austin, and Dhani Jones, the retired linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals who hosts NBC's new alternative series "Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge." "Jones is a guy you look at when those cameras go on, and he just has that charisma," note Hayden and Silbowitz. "The guy's performed in front of thousands of people every time he stepped out on the field, and now he's able to take that skill to this other field. He's a great crossover talent."
Horowitz oversees all programming, marketing, and scheduling for Fox Sports 1 and 2, and development of original programming and day-to-day operations for Fox Sports 1's news and studio programs. Since joining in May 2015, he has reimagined the programming at FS1, as the network shifts focus from newsgathering to more provocative perspectives on the day's headlines. The former ESPN exec was also instrumental in hiring opinionated personalities Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock and snagged Skip Bayless, co-star of ESPN2's debate show "First Take," who'll join in the late summer for a reported salary of $5.5 million. "People are our most important asset, and successful content is largely dependent on the team making it and the culture in which it's created," he says.Prior to 2016, few people who were not intimately involved in the inner workings of soccer's governing body, FIFA, had heard of Swiss attorney Infantino. Yet after an extraordinary series of scandals that saw FIFA head Sepp Blatter and a number of his key lieutenants exit the organization in disgrace, Infantino has become the top man at the most powerful sports body on Earth. Infantino initiated a series of reforms and vowed to clean up the organization, but there are outstanding issues; the upcoming World Cup host sites of Russia and Qatar remain controversial, and news of internal squabbling and questionable associations from the Panama Papers leak filled European sports pages. In order to make sure the new boss isn't perceived in the same way as the old, Infantino has his work cut out for him.Just a kid from Akron, Ohio — that's how James positions himself. From a modest Midwestern beginning, James has forged a diverse sports and entertainment empire that includes a reported $1 billion lifetime endorsement contract with Nike. He's also exec producing Starz's "Survivor's Remorse," NBC's upcoming "The Wall" primetime game show, and "Cleveland Hustles" for CNBC. Along with grade-school friend and business manager Maverick Carter, CEO of SpringHill Entertainment and James' multimedia platform Uninterrupted — in which Time Warner invested $15.8 million last year — James assesses potential TV, film, or digital content projects, looking for authentic storylines. That's true of "Cleveland Hustles," filmed entirely in the Cavs' hometown. Says Carter: "When LeBron came back [to Cleveland], it was about uplifting that area, and this show is a good way to continue that." Will James — who last month
led the Cavaliers to their first NBA title — continue to hone his acting chops after his star-making turn in "Trainwreck?"
Per Carter, "if the right script comes along." Indeed, James is set to star in Warner Bros.' remake of "Space Jam," directed by Justin Lin.Not just one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars, the wrestler produces and stars in HBO's "Ballers." A former football player, he was a member of the University of Miami's 1991 co- national championship team before becoming WWE's top draw. "There are a few profound ways my background in sports has had an impact on my career in entertainment. First being discipline," Johnson says. "The discipline to consistently do the daily little things that are often considered shit and boring, but ultimately always add up in the long run." Johnson stresses the importance of being "open and flexible to change a game plan at any moment to improve our chances for success. At any moment. The last and often most important is a team mentality. Greatness is never achieved alone, even in any kind of 'individual competition' sport. It always takes a team of hungry, smart individuals who all buy into the same philosophy the leader of the pack preaches. My philosophy: Be hungry, humble, and always be the hardest and smartest worker in the room. And gut — always, always, always listen to my gut." Johnson is lending his voice to Disney's upcoming and buzzed-about "Moana" in the fall, while juggling a full slate of other pics, including "Baywatch."Based in Los Angeles, former trial attorney Khan oversees a large team of agents repping A-list on-air personalities. He personally represents many leading sports broadcasters, including ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, Rachel Nichols, Jalen Rose, and Michelle Beadle; Fox Sports 1's Colin Cowherd
and Charissa Thompson; and HBO's Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman. Khan has also orchestrated landmark deals for clients, including recent agreements for Herbstreit with ESPN, Cowherd with Fox Sports 1, and Lampley with HBO. "A few years back, [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos said two things on '60 Minutes' that really resonated," Khan says. "Complaining is not a strategy, and you have to earn your keep in this business. This is our philosophy."Kroenke is the man who brought TV's highest-rating sport back to the entertainment capital of the world. The Rams left Southern California in 1995 for St. Louis, but Kroenke's team will start the 2016 NFL season in their temporary home at the L.A. Coliseum, until their state-of-the-art Inglewood base is completed in 2019. Having the Rams in L.A. means that the city gets to play host to the Super Bowl in 2021. But Kroenke doesn't just stick to American football; he also owns English soccer club Arsenal, as well as the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, and MLS' Colorado Rapids. Kroenke also has significant media holdings: In 2004, he launched the 24-hour regional sports network Altitude Sports & Entertainment, which is home to the Nuggets, Avalanche, Mammoth pro lacrosse team, and Rapids, and produces the Rams' preseason broadcasts. Kroenke's KSE Media Ventures operates the Outdoor Sportsman Group. As chairman of NBC Sports Group, Lazarus is responsible for a wide swath of athletic programming. This ranges from the tried-and-true — the network's "Sunday Night Football" has been primetime TV's No. 1 show for five consecutive years — to the emerging U.S. market for soccer: Lazarus, who secured Stateside rights to the English Premier League in 2012 for the following season, notes that 37 million Americans watched its coverage during the 2015-16 campaign. Meanwhile, this month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro presents a potential bonanza. "With Rio only one hour ahead of East Coast time, the 2016 Summer Games will be the most live Olympics ever," Lazarus says. "For Atlanta in 1996, the last time the Games were in the Western Hemisphere, NBC Sports delivered 171.5 total hours of programming. Next month, we will have more than 6,700 hours of programming from Rio, including digital, and will surpass Atlanta in the afternoon on Day 1. We all know the importance of live events on television in this era. They are DVR-proof."ince debuting in 2012, the Peter Guber and Mike Tollin collaboration has produced scripted features; docu-series; several documentaries for ESPN's "30 for 30"; and the first network primetime sports doc, CBS' "Summer Dreams." MSM services all distribution platforms, networks, and outlets, and will release its first scripted feature, "The Bleeder," starring Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts, later this year. MSM just wrapped production on "L.A. Clippers Dance Squad" for E! and curated Hulu's new sports documentary series. Its feature doc "Patrick & Zo" just aired on SI Films. Says Tollin: "With its principals having been involved in traditional sports media for decades, MSM has made the transition gracefully to new media and digital content while retaining its leadership role in feature film, TV series, and documentary film production."Men in Blazers co-hosts Michael Davies and Roger Bennett were recently described by CNN as the "men who brought soccer to America." Asked how comfortable they are with that title, Davies — exec producer of such shows as "Watch What Happens: Live," "The American Bible Challenge," "Talking Dead," and "Cutthroat Kitchen" — notes, "On a scale of one to 10, we are a negative-
mid-range FIFA-bribe-number comfortable." Such is typical of the British-born commentators' self-effacing style, as they offer Stateside listeners a window into the wit and wisdom surrounding English Premier League with a podcast they themselves label "suboptimal." Yet their erudite style of discourse, complete with enough invented slang to compete with a Wu-Tang Clan record, has drawn a devoted following: After their podcast blossomed via ESPN's Grantland network, the two secured a weekly TV show on NBC Sports, and more recently launched a sold-out convention, BlazerCon, in Brooklyn. "For us, sports is the most human of pursuits," Bennett says, "and we celebrate every facet, dissecting the soap opera-esque narrative, giving every moment of Cirque du Soleil athletic brilliance equal weight with the man buns or regrettable neck tattoos."Since his heroic home runs in 2004 helped catapult the Red Sox to their first world Series win in 86 years, "Big Papi" has been considered a treasure by Boston fans. Now gearing up for retirement at the end of the 2016 season, the beloved Sox slugger is taking his act to Hollywood. Ortiz will play himself in the Mark Wahlberg-starrer "Patriots Day," about the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, re-enacting the emotional Fenway Park speech in which he passionately declared to a crowd of cheering fans: "This is our fucking city." The film bows in December. The Big Papi Network on Verizon's Go90 — exec produced by IMG in partnership with creator and star Ortiz — launched in April.As fifth in line to the British throne, Prince Harry of Wales would have seemed an unlikely candidate to mastermind a new athletic competition. But drawing on his experiences in the British armed forces, Harry launched the Invictus Games in London
in 2014, attracting more than 300 wounded military veterans to compete in a variety of sporting competitions. For
the Games' second go-round
this year in Orlando, Fla., the event drew such attendees as first lady Michelle Obama,
former President George W. Bush, and Morgan Freeman, as well as participants from 14 countries. ESPN broadcast 40-plus hours of coverage. Planning is already under way
for next year's Invictus, to be held in Toronto. A champion mixed martial arts fighter first and foremost, Rousey keeps her post-UFC career moves in play, too, showing a great deal of range. She wrote The New York Times bestseller "My Fight/Your Fight," now in development as a biopic; starred in features such as "The Expendables 3," and powered through a guest-host stint at "Saturday Night Live." Up next is a starring role in the "Road House" remake. "She's extremely curious and has been able to play in several buckets," says Brad Slater, partner and co-head of WME's talent department. She's tackling empowerment-related topics via a three-film producing deal at Lifetime and other network producing projects. All this adds up, Slater says, "to building a sustainable business outside of the octagon."Beloved by fans, players, umpires, and the front office, Scully has spent an unprecedented 67 seasons in the broadcast booth, the longest association of any sportscaster and team. His ability to connect players' personal stories to the play-by-play is uncanny; in between called strikes, he can hark back to the Dodgers' Brooklyn days or note pitching ace Clayton Kershaw's parental skills. Scully, says Charley Steiner, the Dodgers' main play-by-play radio and road-game announcer, is
"Babe Ruth, and the standard
by which everyone else is compared. While we pedestrian announcers are sprinting to
keep up with the story, he's the poet who is dancing his way through it." Honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and a lifetime-achievement Emmy Award winner, Scully
saw his most recent kudo in
the renaming of the entrance
to Dodger Stadium as Vin
Scully Avenue.For all her digital platform savvy and visibility, Shelburne is an old-fashioned reporter, delivering hard-won scoops and other must-reads for ESPN.com and its magazine. An NBA expert, the Stanford grad and L.A. resident signed a multiyear, multiplatform deal with the Worldwide Leader in Sports earlier this year while expanding her role on broadcast TV: She can be seen delivering news reports and analysis on "SportsCenter" and other shows on the cabler, as well as contributing to new daily NBA show "The Jump." "It's awesome," says Michelle Beadle, half of ESPN radio show "Beadle & Shelburne." "Ramona is more hooked into the NBA world than anybody. She is a ball of energy."Simmons,
the Boston Sports Guy, first gained fame as writer of BostonSportsGuy.com, penning wildly popular articles such as "Is Clemens the Antichrist?" In 2001, he landed a plum gig at ESPN, where he became one of the country's preeminent sportswriters and podcasters, launching the documentary series "30 for 30." His latest team effort, "Any Given Wednesday," premiered July 10 on HBO. "I wouldn't be doing this for a living if I didn't grow up [in Boston]," he says. "And it wasn't just the life-or-death passion for the four local teams. I wouldn't have had a column without reading terrific Boston Globe writers like Ray Fitzgerald and Peter Gammons. My column led to every good thing that ever happened to me professionally."The U.S. version of Japanese show "Sasuke" has gone from cult following to TV ratings phenomenon for NBC, as millions of Americans cheer on athletes tackling the most diabolically difficult obstacle courses this side of Japan. It's family entertainment and frequently inspiring, as the show masterfully unveils the compelling back stories of the ninjas. After going through a series of hosts, "ANW" has found a top team in Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila, while sideline reporter Kristine Leahy manages to create upbeat moments with the athletes, even in defeat. The series has spawned ninja training gyms around the country, and most likely helped inspire more than a few couch potatoes to hit the gym. The show, Smith says,
"really is connecting with people. This year we had 75,000 people audition for 'Ninja Warrior,' and when we started, we had 1,000. It's a show that you can watch and maybe make it on, because it's everyday people."
After his sudden departure from "Live! With
Kelly and Michael" left tongues wagging, retired New York Giants defensive end Strahan assumed full-time co-hosting duties on "Good Morning America." "I'm looking forward to being a part of an award-winning team and having the ability to bring stories that are fascinating and interesting to the viewer every morning," says Strahan, whose screen credits includes "Inside Amy Schumer" and "Magic Mike XXL." He's also hosting the rebooted "Pyramid" game show for ABC. According to Strahan, life on the football field provided ample prep for a career in entertainment. "Being an athlete taught me about discipline and how to take direction and criticism at times. It made me somewhat of a perfectionist," says the Hall of Famer.At one point, Shaun White was recognized as much for his long, fiery mane as for his snowboarding skills and accolades, which include two Olympic gold medals. He was the first athlete to compete in the Summer and Winter X Games in different sports — snowboarding and skateboarding — and has more X Games gold medals than anyone else. At age 29, and with a shorter 'do, White is still snowboarding. But he's also the mastermind behind the Air + Style festival, which features snow sports and musical acts.Williams parlays her powerful sports brand — she's the No. 1 ranked women's tennis player, leagues ahead of everyone else — into her passions of fashion and acting with equal force. Off-court, she's an oft-photographed fashionista and influencer who welcomed Vogue editor Anna Wintour to her player's box at Wimbledon this year. She designed her own clothing line (Aneres), and her sporty casual wear is featured on HSN. Williams has played herself in several screen projects, including "Pixels," and has appeared in enough TV episodes to earn a page on imdb.com. "Serena" is Epix's freshly aired look at her life and times. In the digital realm, she's pioneered a subscription tennis course on her robust website, secured Delta Airlines as sponsor for her Instagram account, and ties her on- and off-court commercial plays together on twitter
(@serenawilliams). What's more, her career winnings — more than $77.5 million, according to the WTA — put her into boffo box office territory.WME partners Brandt Joel, Jim Ornstein, Josh Pyatt, Jon Rosen, and Brad Slater, a core group of agents across the talent and nonscripted television departments, together with IMG agents Carlos Fleming and
Ira Stahlberger, form a powerhouse that has had huge success in focusing on taking athletes from the field to the screen. Repping such sports royalty as Kobe Bryant, Wayne Gretzky, Lewis Hamilton, Victor Cruz, Michelle Wie, and Rob Gronkowski, they've negotiated deals for Michael Strahan at "Good Morning America," and helped develop and negotiate pacts for LeBron James' production company, Ronda Rousey's film career, Cam Newton's Nickelodeon TV show "All In," Terry Bradshaw's NBC series "Better Late Than Never," and David Ortiz's new channel on Verizon's Go90 platform. They also rep many former NFL players who've transitioned to broadcasting — including Tony Gonzalez, Matt Leinart, Kurt Warner, and Tony Siragusa — as well as the next wave of sportscasters. "We look beyond an athlete's on-field performance to find the rare superstar who is charismatic, relatable, and entrepreneurially minded, and help them build their businesses across all platforms," note Ornstein and Pyatt.The veteran broadcaster continues to shine for Fox Sports, contributing feature stories and sideline insight for its NFL broadcasts and other major events, including Super Bowl XLVIII, the NFC Championship and Divisional rounds, the MLB All-Star Game, and the World Series. After dancing her way to the finals of season 10 of "Dancing With the Stars," Andrews returned in season 18, this time as co-host alongside Tom Bergeron. She became a hero for women as well, fighting and winning a lawsuit against a stalker. When asked about her best sports memory, she says: "There have been so many. The Richard Sherman interview, working my first Super Bowl in New York, being on the ice when the Tampa Bay Lighting won the [Stanley] Cup. But I would have to say, having my dad on the field following the Boston Red Sox's World Series win in 2013. My passion for sports comes from my dad, and he raised us on the Boston Red Sox. To be able to walk out to the Green Monster with my parents, after I just handed the team their trophy, was a dream come true." A veteran below-the-line agent who has added sports stars to his growing roster, Baine reps the Bella Twins and WWE superstar John Cena. He cut deals for Cena's roles in the hit films "Trainwreck," "Sisters," and "Daddy's Home," as well as
gigs hosting "American Grit," Fox's new 10-episode military-inspired competition series, and serving as brand ambassador
for the relaunch of global hard-body fitness and training brand Tapout. Cena will also
host this year's ESPYs and Teen Choice Awards. Baime is part
of the team that represents former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva,
who'll host the Brazilian version of Netflix's "Ultimate Beastmaster." "Clients are more entrepreneurial than ever before, and agents must be as well," Baime says.A fixture on ESPN, Beadle co-hosts "SportsNation," which earlier this year moved from ESPN2 to the flagship channel, alongside Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley. A valuable asset to the sports giant, she signed a multiyear pact with the network in January. Offering smart, sometimes acerbic, views on sports and pop culture, Beadle
is not afraid to call out her bosses on issues that are important to her. "There's very little difference between my TV self and everyday me," she says. "I think people can feel that. People felt that I was being honest." Now, she has a new show with Ramona Shelburne on radio, "one of the last bastions for women. It's a more freedom-based genre; you're not rushed. It's awesome. We talk about everything on the show."Forget the wrestler clichés — muscled dudes in weird outfits and weirder hairstyles — and check out WWE superstars Nikki and Brie, the Bella Twins. With a social media presence of more than 20 million followers, they've entertained fans around the world with their athleticism and personalities, and proved to be a powerful marketing force, as part of campaigns for Pepsi, DraftKings, Slim Jim, and Mike's Hard Lemonade. E! will debut "Total Bellas," a spinoff of the network's hit series "Total Divas," on Oct. 5. "In a male-dominated industry like WWE, being impactful was always important, but our goal will always be sending an inspirational message, affecting lives outside WWE," they note.As a leader in a huge and growing sideline of sports, Berry appreciates the passion players have for the game. Also known as Talented Mr. Roto, Berry pens a regular column for ESPN.com, hosts the "Fantasy Focus" podcast, and regularly appears on ESPN television and radio shows such as "NFL Live" and "NFL Sunday Countdown." "Fantasy sports are insanely popular," says Berry, who credits UTA agents Ryan Hayden and Jerry Silbowitz for helping to broaden his media platform. "Over 50 million people play fantasy sports, and 35 million of those play fantasy football. If there's a way to keep score of it, there's a way to play a fantasy version of it."With an NBA career spanning 20 years with the Lakers, Bryant is easily one of the most recognizable names in professional basketball. The recently retired 37-year-old baller is a five-time NBA champion. He became the youngest player in the league's history to reach 30,000 career points. Bryant also helped the NBA grow its audience base in China, where his jersey is still the top seller. He recently launched production company Kobe Studios; its animated short "Dear Basketball" is part of a deal with Sports Illustrated. The film, narrated by Bryant and directed by animation legend Glen Keane, with a score by music legend John Williams, will be distributed exclusively on SI's digital properties. Kobe Studios debuted with "Kobe Bryant's Muse" in February 2015 on Showtime and last August in China via a wide-ranging partnership Bryant has with Alibaba Group.Son of the broadcaster Jack Buck, who is in several sports halls of fame, play-by-play man Joe Buck has become a fixture at Fox Sports over the years. Buck, who has covered 18 World Series and four Super Bowls, added golf to his repertoire in 2015, covering the U.S. Open, and then, critics be damned, the 2016 Open. Last year, DirecTV ordered "Undeniable With Joe Buck," hosted by the Emmy-winning sportscaster. The 10-episode series, produced by Vince Vaughn's Wild West Prods., features in-depth interviews with Michael Phelps, Jimmy Johnson, Derek Jeter, and Wayne Gretzky. Buck's memoir "Lucky Bastard" is due out in November. "With the release of my book, and the addition of both the U.S. Open coverage and my show 'Undeniable' on DirectTV, I am always looking to expand my reach and exercise broadcast muscles people don't know I have," he says.Cena is hardly the first wrestling superstar to try his hand at ventures outside the ring, but the speed at which he's gone from a grappler who moonlights into a genuine crossover movie star has gotten even wrestling agnostics to take note. A longtime WWE mainstay, Cena dipped his toes into the multiplex water with roles in in-house productions like "The Marine" and "Legendary," but 2015 saw him excel in a completely unexpected genre: light comedy, with "Sisters," "Trainwreck," and a bit role in "Daddy's Home." Blessed with rock-solid comic timing and a core of unexpected sensitivity beneath his chiseled physique, Cena feels as natural on camera as his most obvious predecessor, Dwayne Johnson, and he's already back on the small screen as host of Fox's reality competition series "American Grit," as well as host of the ESPYs and co-host of the Teen Choice Awards.New York-based Danforth oversees the agency's sponsorship/athlete endorsements globally. Under his guidance, CAA Sports has completed more than $3.5 billion in new sponsorship business and orchestrated precedent-setting agreements for the new Yankee Stadium; the Marquee partnership deal at Madison Square Garden; naming rights for the San Francisco 49ers Levi's Stadium; and the recently announced Chase Center, future home of the Golden State Warriors. He has helped CAA become the foremost player-representation and sports-marketing agency in the U.S., repping more than 1,000 top athletes, coaches, on-air broadcasters, and sports personalities. "I have always believed that the key to success is to surround yourself with good, hard-working people with positive energy, who are not afraid to challenge you," he says.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. comes from a long line of NASCAR drivers: His father, Dale Earnhardt, is a Hall of Famer, and his grandfather was the renowned Ralph Earnhardt. But the Pied Piper of Daytona earned his fame on his own, winning the Daytona 500 twice. He joined his father's racing company, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., in 1998 and spent 10 years racing the No. 8 Chevrolet before switching over to Hendrick Motorsports, where he drives a No. 88 Chevrolet SS. He also owns champion racing team JR Motorsports. But Dale Jr.'s interests go beyond the track: His Charlotte, N.C.-based Hammerhead Entertainment is a full-service production and post-production company that creates content for such major networks and cablers as Fox, Velocity, ESPN, ABC, and Speed, as well as for blue-chip advertisers like Pepsi, Nationwide, Unilever, Chevrolet, Sprint, and Valvoline. In October 2014, Eisen launched his popular DirecTV show, "The Rich Eisen Show," with his engaging blend of insightful football analysis, offbeat humor, and coverage of pop culture. With his Twitter following at 1.07 million — the most of any national daily sports talk-radio host — he also attracts the biggest names in sports and entertainment. He continues to be the face of the NFL Network, anchoring its "Thursday Night Football" studio coverage, and hosts "NFL GameDay Morning." "I realized early on I had no crossover ability on the basketball court, so I figured, why not host my own show?" Eisen jokes.Gleason has championed innovative programs to grow America's original extreme sport, including a "retailtainment" program with Walmart; substantially increasing prize money; creating the PBR Majors; developing unique event formats such as Last Cowboy Standing; and striking deals with Las Vegas to produce Helldorado Days and move PBR World Finals to Vegas' new T-Mobile Arena. Available in 500 million homes worldwide, PBR has a base of 35 million fans. This season, viewership on CBS is up 20%, and the sport has set 10 local-event attendance records. "What's good for the athletes is good for our business," Gleason says. "We've created an empowering culture of personal accountability, and that helps
us give fans the best sports experience and sponsors a
direct connection to those passionate fans."Hayden and Silbowitz boast an enviable list of sports entertainment clients, including NBA All-Star-turned-sports-analyst Chris Webber, pro wrestling hall of famer and media personality Steve Austin, and Dhani Jones, the retired linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals who hosts NBC's new alternative series "Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge." "Jones is a guy you look at when those cameras go on, and he just has that charisma," note Hayden and Silbowitz. "The guy's performed in front of thousands of people every time he stepped out on the field, and now he's able to take that skill to this other field. He's a great crossover talent."
Horowitz oversees all programming, marketing, and scheduling for Fox Sports 1 and 2, and development of original programming and day-to-day operations for Fox Sports 1's news and studio programs. Since joining in May 2015, he has reimagined the programming at FS1, as the network shifts focus from newsgathering to more provocative perspectives on the day's headlines. The former ESPN exec was also instrumental in hiring opinionated personalities Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock and snagged Skip Bayless, co-star of ESPN2's debate show "First Take," who'll join in the late summer for a reported salary of $5.5 million. "People are our most important asset, and successful content is largely dependent on the team making it and the culture in which it's created," he says.Prior to 2016, few people who were not intimately involved in the inner workings of soccer's governing body, FIFA, had heard of Swiss attorney Infantino. Yet after an extraordinary series of scandals that saw FIFA head Sepp Blatter and a number of his key lieutenants exit the organization in disgrace, Infantino has become the top man at the most powerful sports body on Earth. Infantino initiated a series of reforms and vowed to clean up the organization, but there are outstanding issues; the upcoming World Cup host sites of Russia and Qatar remain controversial, and news of internal squabbling and questionable associations from the Panama Papers leak filled European sports pages. In order to make sure the new boss isn't perceived in the same way as the old, Infantino has his work cut out for him.Just a kid from Akron, Ohio — that's how James positions himself. From a modest Midwestern beginning, James has forged a diverse sports and entertainment empire that includes a reported $1 billion lifetime endorsement contract with Nike. He's also exec producing Starz's "Survivor's Remorse," NBC's upcoming "The Wall" primetime game show, and "Cleveland Hustles" for CNBC. Along with grade-school friend and business manager Maverick Carter, CEO of SpringHill Entertainment and James' multimedia platform Uninterrupted — in which Time Warner invested $15.8 million last year — James assesses potential TV, film, or digital content projects, looking for authentic storylines. That's true of "Cleveland Hustles," filmed entirely in the Cavs' hometown. Says Carter: "When LeBron came back [to Cleveland], it was about uplifting that area, and this show is a good way to continue that." Will James — who last month
led the Cavaliers to their first NBA title — continue to hone his acting chops after his star-making turn in "Trainwreck?"
Per Carter, "if the right script comes along." Indeed, James is set to star in Warner Bros.' remake of "Space Jam," directed by Justin Lin.Not just one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars, the wrestler produces and stars in HBO's "Ballers." A former football player, he was a member of the University of Miami's 1991 co- national championship team before becoming WWE's top draw. "There are a few profound ways my background in sports has had an impact on my career in entertainment. First being discipline," Johnson says. "The discipline to consistently do the daily little things that are often considered shit and boring, but ultimately always add up in the long run." Johnson stresses the importance of being "open and flexible to change a game plan at any moment to improve our chances for success. At any moment. The last and often most important is a team mentality. Greatness is never achieved alone, even in any kind of 'individual competition' sport. It always takes a team of hungry, smart individuals who all buy into the same philosophy the leader of the pack preaches. My philosophy: Be hungry, humble, and always be the hardest and smartest worker in the room. And gut — always, always, always listen to my gut." Johnson is lending his voice to Disney's upcoming and buzzed-about "Moana" in the fall, while juggling a full slate of other pics, including "Baywatch."Based in Los Angeles, former trial attorney Khan oversees a large team of agents repping A-list on-air personalities. He personally represents many leading sports broadcasters, including ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, Rachel Nichols, Jalen Rose, and Michelle Beadle; Fox Sports 1's Colin Cowherd
and Charissa Thompson; and HBO's Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman. Khan has also orchestrated landmark deals for clients, including recent agreements for Herbstreit with ESPN, Cowherd with Fox Sports 1, and Lampley with HBO. "A few years back, [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos said two things on '60 Minutes' that really resonated," Khan says. "Complaining is not a strategy, and you have to earn your keep in this business. This is our philosophy."Kroenke is the man who brought TV's highest-rating sport back to the entertainment capital of the world. The Rams left Southern California in 1995 for St. Louis, but Kroenke's team will start the 2016 NFL season in their temporary home at the L.A. Coliseum, until their state-of-the-art Inglewood base is completed in 2019. Having the Rams in L.A. means that the city gets to play host to the Super Bowl in 2021. But Kroenke doesn't just stick to American football; he also owns English soccer club Arsenal, as well as the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, and MLS' Colorado Rapids. Kroenke also has significant media holdings: In 2004, he launched the 24-hour regional sports network Altitude Sports & Entertainment, which is home to the Nuggets, Avalanche, Mammoth pro lacrosse team, and Rapids, and produces the Rams' preseason broadcasts. Kroenke's KSE Media Ventures operates the Outdoor Sportsman Group. As chairman of NBC Sports Group, Lazarus is responsible for a wide swath of athletic programming. This ranges from the tried-and-true — the network's "Sunday Night Football" has been primetime TV's No. 1 show for five consecutive years — to the emerging U.S. market for soccer: Lazarus, who secured Stateside rights to the English Premier League in 2012 for the following season, notes that 37 million Americans watched its coverage during the 2015-16 campaign. Meanwhile, this month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro presents a potential bonanza. "With Rio only one hour ahead of East Coast time, the 2016 Summer Games will be the most live Olympics ever," Lazarus says. "For Atlanta in 1996, the last time the Games were in the Western Hemisphere, NBC Sports delivered 171.5 total hours of programming. Next month, we will have more than 6,700 hours of programming from Rio, including digital, and will surpass Atlanta in the afternoon on Day 1. We all know the importance of live events on television in this era. They are DVR-proof."ince debuting in 2012, the Peter Guber and Mike Tollin collaboration has produced scripted features; docu-series; several documentaries for ESPN's "30 for 30"; and the first network primetime sports doc, CBS' "Summer Dreams." MSM services all distribution platforms, networks, and outlets, and will release its first scripted feature, "The Bleeder," starring Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts, later this year. MSM just wrapped production on "L.A. Clippers Dance Squad" for E! and curated Hulu's new sports documentary series. Its feature doc "Patrick & Zo" just aired on SI Films. Says Tollin: "With its principals having been involved in traditional sports media for decades, MSM has made the transition gracefully to new media and digital content while retaining its leadership role in feature film, TV series, and documentary film production."Men in Blazers co-hosts Michael Davies and Roger Bennett were recently described by CNN as the "men who brought soccer to America." Asked how comfortable they are with that title, Davies — exec producer of such shows as "Watch What Happens: Live," "The American Bible Challenge," "Talking Dead," and "Cutthroat Kitchen" — notes, "On a scale of one to 10, we are a negative-
mid-range FIFA-bribe-number comfortable." Such is typical of the British-born commentators' self-effacing style, as they offer Stateside listeners a window into the wit and wisdom surrounding English Premier League with a podcast they themselves label "suboptimal." Yet their erudite style of discourse, complete with enough invented slang to compete with a Wu-Tang Clan record, has drawn a devoted following: After their podcast blossomed via ESPN's Grantland network, the two secured a weekly TV show on NBC Sports, and more recently launched a sold-out convention, BlazerCon, in Brooklyn. "For us, sports is the most human of pursuits," Bennett says, "and we celebrate every facet, dissecting the soap opera-esque narrative, giving every moment of Cirque du Soleil athletic brilliance equal weight with the man buns or regrettable neck tattoos."Since his heroic home runs in 2004 helped catapult the Red Sox to their first world Series win in 86 years, "Big Papi" has been considered a treasure by Boston fans. Now gearing up for retirement at the end of the 2016 season, the beloved Sox slugger is taking his act to Hollywood. Ortiz will play himself in the Mark Wahlberg-starrer "Patriots Day," about the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, re-enacting the emotional Fenway Park speech in which he passionately declared to a crowd of cheering fans: "This is our fucking city." The film bows in December. The Big Papi Network on Verizon's Go90 — exec produced by IMG in partnership with creator and star Ortiz — launched in April.As fifth in line to the British throne, Prince Harry of Wales would have seemed an unlikely candidate to mastermind a new athletic competition. But drawing on his experiences in the British armed forces, Harry launched the Invictus Games in London
in 2014, attracting more than 300 wounded military veterans to compete in a variety of sporting competitions. For
the Games' second go-round
this year in Orlando, Fla., the event drew such attendees as first lady Michelle Obama,
former President George W. Bush, and Morgan Freeman, as well as participants from 14 countries. ESPN broadcast 40-plus hours of coverage. Planning is already under way
for next year's Invictus, to be held in Toronto. A champion mixed martial arts fighter first and foremost, Rousey keeps her post-UFC career moves in play, too, showing a great deal of range. She wrote The New York Times bestseller "My Fight/Your Fight," now in development as a biopic; starred in features such as "The Expendables 3," and powered through a guest-host stint at "Saturday Night Live." Up next is a starring role in the "Road House" remake. "She's extremely curious and has been able to play in several buckets," says Brad Slater, partner and co-head of WME's talent department. She's tackling empowerment-related topics via a three-film producing deal at Lifetime and other network producing projects. All this adds up, Slater says, "to building a sustainable business outside of the octagon."Beloved by fans, players, umpires, and the front office, Scully has spent an unprecedented 67 seasons in the broadcast booth, the longest association of any sportscaster and team. His ability to connect players' personal stories to the play-by-play is uncanny; in between called strikes, he can hark back to the Dodgers' Brooklyn days or note pitching ace Clayton Kershaw's parental skills. Scully, says Charley Steiner, the Dodgers' main play-by-play radio and road-game announcer, is
"Babe Ruth, and the standard
by which everyone else is compared. While we pedestrian announcers are sprinting to
keep up with the story, he's the poet who is dancing his way through it." Honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and a lifetime-achievement Emmy Award winner, Scully
saw his most recent kudo in
the renaming of the entrance
to Dodger Stadium as Vin
Scully Avenue.For all her digital platform savvy and visibility, Shelburne is an old-fashioned reporter, delivering hard-won scoops and other must-reads for ESPN.com and its magazine. An NBA expert, the Stanford grad and L.A. resident signed a multiyear, multiplatform deal with the Worldwide Leader in Sports earlier this year while expanding her role on broadcast TV: She can be seen delivering news reports and analysis on "SportsCenter" and other shows on the cabler, as well as contributing to new daily NBA show "The Jump." "It's awesome," says Michelle Beadle, half of ESPN radio show "Beadle & Shelburne." "Ramona is more hooked into the NBA world than anybody. She is a ball of energy."Simmons,
the Boston Sports Guy, first gained fame as writer of BostonSportsGuy.com, penning wildly popular articles such as "Is Clemens the Antichrist?" In 2001, he landed a plum gig at ESPN, where he became one of the country's preeminent sportswriters and podcasters, launching the documentary series "30 for 30." His latest team effort, "Any Given Wednesday," premiered July 10 on HBO. "I wouldn't be doing this for a living if I didn't grow up [in Boston]," he says. "And it wasn't just the life-or-death passion for the four local teams. I wouldn't have had a column without reading terrific Boston Globe writers like Ray Fitzgerald and Peter Gammons. My column led to every good thing that ever happened to me professionally."The U.S. version of Japanese show "Sasuke" has gone from cult following to TV ratings phenomenon for NBC, as millions of Americans cheer on athletes tackling the most diabolically difficult obstacle courses this side of Japan. It's family entertainment and frequently inspiring, as the show masterfully unveils the compelling back stories of the ninjas. After going through a series of hosts, "ANW" has found a top team in Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila, while sideline reporter Kristine Leahy manages to create upbeat moments with the athletes, even in defeat. The series has spawned ninja training gyms around the country, and most likely helped inspire more than a few couch potatoes to hit the gym. The show, Smith says,
"really is connecting with people. This year we had 75,000 people audition for 'Ninja Warrior,' and when we started, we had 1,000. It's a show that you can watch and maybe make it on, because it's everyday people."
After his sudden departure from "Live! With
Kelly and Michael" left tongues wagging, retired New York Giants defensive end Strahan assumed full-time co-hosting duties on "Good Morning America." "I'm looking forward to being a part of an award-winning team and having the ability to bring stories that are fascinating and interesting to the viewer every morning," says Strahan, whose screen credits includes "Inside Amy Schumer" and "Magic Mike XXL." He's also hosting the rebooted "Pyramid" game show for ABC. According to Strahan, life on the football field provided ample prep for a career in entertainment. "Being an athlete taught me about discipline and how to take direction and criticism at times. It made me somewhat of a perfectionist," says the Hall of Famer.At one point, Shaun White was recognized as much for his long, fiery mane as for his snowboarding skills and accolades, which include two Olympic gold medals. He was the first athlete to compete in the Summer and Winter X Games in different sports — snowboarding and skateboarding — and has more X Games gold medals than anyone else. At age 29, and with a shorter 'do, White is still snowboarding. But he's also the mastermind behind the Air + Style festival, which features snow sports and musical acts.Williams parlays her powerful sports brand — she's the No. 1 ranked women's tennis player, leagues ahead of everyone else — into her passions of fashion and acting with equal force. Off-court, she's an oft-photographed fashionista and influencer who welcomed Vogue editor Anna Wintour to her player's box at Wimbledon this year. She designed her own clothing line (Aneres), and her sporty casual wear is featured on HSN. Williams has played herself in several screen projects, including "Pixels," and has appeared in enough TV episodes to earn a page on imdb.com. "Serena" is Epix's freshly aired look at her life and times. In the digital realm, she's pioneered a subscription tennis course on her robust website, secured Delta Airlines as sponsor for her Instagram account, and ties her on- and off-court commercial plays together on twitter
(@serenawilliams). What's more, her career winnings — more than $77.5 million, according to the WTA — put her into boffo box office territory.WME partners Brandt Joel, Jim Ornstein, Josh Pyatt, Jon Rosen, and Brad Slater, a core group of agents across the talent and nonscripted television departments, together with IMG agents Carlos Fleming and
Ira Stahlberger, form a powerhouse that has had huge success in focusing on taking athletes from the field to the screen. Repping such sports royalty as Kobe Bryant, Wayne Gretzky, Lewis Hamilton, Victor Cruz, Michelle Wie, and Rob Gronkowski, they've negotiated deals for Michael Strahan at "Good Morning America," and helped develop and negotiate pacts for LeBron James' production company, Ronda Rousey's film career, Cam Newton's Nickelodeon TV show "All In," Terry Bradshaw's NBC series "Better Late Than Never," and David Ortiz's new channel on Verizon's Go90 platform. They also rep many former NFL players who've transitioned to broadcasting — including Tony Gonzalez, Matt Leinart, Kurt Warner, and Tony Siragusa — as well as the next wave of sportscasters. "We look beyond an athlete's on-field performance to find the rare superstar who is charismatic, relatable, and entrepreneurially minded, and help them build their businesses across all platforms," note Ornstein and Pyatt.

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