Roc Nation, an entertainment company founded by Shawn Carter, also known as Jay-Z, announced Tuesday that it is getting into the sports representation business through a partnership with Creative Artists Agency (CAA). This arm of CAA will be known as Roc Nation Sports, which simultaneously announced that its first sports client is Cano.
“At this point in my career, I am ready to take a more active role in my endeavors on and off the field,” Cano said in a statement. “I am confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and CAA Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short- and long-term goals. I am making this important decision now so I can keep my focus on helping the Yankees succeed in 2013, while minimizing any distractions for me and my teammates.”
The Yankees and Boras hadn’t spoken in weeks about a new deal, a person with knowledge of the talks told ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand. The Yankees had made what general manager Brian Cashman termed “a significant offer” during the spring, but Cano had not accepted it. At this point, the Yankees do not have a read on how the move from Boras to Jay-Z will impact future negotiations.
However, when Boras clients get this close to free agency, they typically play out their contracts and test the market.
“I have not spoken to Robinson, and I hope to,” Boras told ESPN’s T.J. Quinn on Tuesday.
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Asked if he was still Cano’s agent, Boras said, “I don’t want to comment, other than to say I haven’t spoken to him.”
It is customary for players to sign representation agreements prior to or during spring training. They run for 12 months and do allow a player to switch agents, but it doesn’t void the current deal. A source told ESPNNewYork.com that Cano had signed his agreement with Boras.
It’s not as if the team that will be negotiating for Cano after Boras is inexperienced, like the much-hyped partnership between Ricky Williams and rapper Master P’s No Limit Sports, which resulted in one of the worst contracts in sports history. Through Roc Nation Sports, Cano also will be represented by CAA Sports’ baseball group, which says it has negotiated $1.1 billion worth of deals, including four contracts (Ryan Braun, Matt Cain, Ryan Zimmerman, Buster Posey) that exceeded $100 million, in the past two years alone. CAA also represents soccer superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham.
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Sources say Jay-Z himself is planning to be a certified agent, first in baseball and eventually in basketball and football. In order to represent clients in basketball, he would have to give up his small share of the Brooklyn Nets.
Jay-Z has always had a love for sports, but his passion grew through the Nets ownership and his 40/40 high-end sports bar in New York, which over the past nine years has become a hangout for athletes.
The initial launch is with CAA, but Roc Nation Sports will be its own company. Roc Nation, which was founded in 2009, currently represents Rihanna, Shakira and Timbaland, among others.
“Because of my love of sports, it was a natural progression to form a company where we can help top athletes in various sports the same way we have been helping artists in the music industry for years,” Jay-Z said in a statement.
ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand and ESPN’s T.J. Quinn contributed to this report.