Roc Nation Sports agency: 99 problems but business ain't one for Jay-Z

Hip-hop mogul widens his portfolio with venture into sports management

Los Angeles

In a lyric from his 2009 ode to New York, “Empire State of Mind”, Jay-Z claimed he “made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can.”

That may yet be the case, now that the hip-hop legend, business mogul and perennial New York Yankees cap-wearer has announced he is establishing a sports-management agency. His first client is Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, whom he has poached from the most powerful agent in baseball.

The Roc Nation Sports agency, unveiled on Tuesday, comes under the umbrella of Roc Nation, the entertainment firm founded by Jay-Z – real name Shawn Carter – in 2008. Formed in a $150m deal with Live Nation, Roc Nation’s roster includes Carter protégées Rihanna and MIA. Its new sports division was created in partnership with the leading Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which already represents more than 800 athletes including David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, alongside a roll-call of  screen stars such as Tom Cruise and Jennifer Aniston.

Carter, 43, is said to be planning to represent players across the US sports spectrum, in baseball, basketball and American football. He said in a statement: “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.”

Enterprising entertainment agents have begun to branch into territory traditionally controlled by sports specialists. Baseball agents typically earn 5 per cent of the deals they negotiate. The New York Times estimated that Roc Nation and CAA stand to earn as much as $10m between them when Cano signs his next contract – with the Yankees or another team – at the end of the current season.

Cano was previously represented by baseball super-agent Scott Boras, known for negotiating a $275m contract for the Yankees’ Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez in 2007, the biggest in baseball history. Carter will not be directly involved in any contract negotiations with Yankees ownership; instead, Cano will be represented in baseball matters by Brodie Van Wagenen, a seasoned CAA sports agent. The player said his defection was motivated by a desire to “take a more active role in my endeavours both on and off  the field”.

Fortune magazine named Carter one of its 50 “Businesspersons of the Year” in 2012. His interests already stretch well beyond music into the Rocawear fashion label, the 40/40 nightclub group, cosmetics and video games. In 2005, it was rumoured he was considering an investment in Arsenal FC.

He is also a Yankees fan of long standing, and performed at Yankee Stadium before a 2009 World Series game. In his 2008 track “Put On”, he suggested his support would be lifelong, rapping: “When I’m dead and gone, I got one last wish: put my Yankee hat on.”

Business interests

Fashion

Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter sold Rocawear – the clothing brand he co-launched in 1999 – to Iconix Brand Group for $204m in 2007. The rapper retained the role of chief creative officer as part of  the deal.

Music

In 2008, Jay-Z signed a $150m deal with music promoter Live Nation. As part of the deal, he was expected to receive  $10m per album, for a minimum of three,  until 2018.

Beauty

Jay-Z joined a team that included Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, to buy a $10m stake in a beauty range for black women called Carol’s Daughter in 2002. Sales are believed to have topped $50m in 2011.

Basketball

The rapper is reported to have bought a 0.07 per cent stake in the New Jersey Nets basketball team, which has since become the Brooklyn Nets, for $1m in 2004, and has become the unofficial face of the brand.

Advertising

He joined forces with African-American entrepreneur Steve Stoute to open the Translation Advertising agency in New York, which now counts the Brooklyn Nets as a client. The pair share the majority stake in the company.

Entertainment

Not all of the rapper’s ventures succeed. The $4m club 40/40 in Atlantic City, which opened in 2005 as a sports bar and lounge and which he co-owned – quietly closed its doors last October when its lease expired.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada