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Home > Football > Rap superstar Jay-Z adds a sports agency as part of his business empire with $900m of contracts and is looking to recruit more football clients…as he nabs Romelu Lukaku and Jerome Boateng

Rap superstar Jay-Z adds a sports agency as part of his business empire with $900m of contracts and is looking to recruit more football clients…as he nabs Romelu Lukaku and Jerome Boateng

Romelu Lukaku is one of Jay-Z’s recent signings.

Mino Raiola and Jorge Mendes, watch out. Jay-Z is now a football agent.
The rapper, whose real name is Shawn Carter, won two of those Grammys with his 2009 hit ‘Empire State of Mind’ featuring Alicia Keys, and he has created an empire of his own containing a host of businesses in his hometown of New York, including a record label, a fashion label, music-streaming service Tidal, a champagne brand and much more.

What isn’t so well known is that five years ago Jay-Z branched out to create the sports agency Roc Nation Sports, where he is now making millions as an agent. He boasts a clientele from the NFL, baseball and basketball but has also teamed up with Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng and recently Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.

The agency has grown fast: it was ranked No 33 in Forbes’ list of the most powerful sports agencies in September 2017 after generating $21.8million (£16.9m) from commissions, with $906m worth of contracts in its books.

At that time Jay-Z’s talent stable was made up of 33 clients but Roc Nation Sports has expanded to now represent 69 athletes, suggesting that value is considerably higher.

Jay-Z’s net worth was a whopping $900m (£700m) and as a couple Jay-Z’s and Beyonce’s value was estimated at $1.255bn (£971m) this year, according to Forbes. Roc Nation Sports has perhaps gone under the radar in the UK but the firm and Jay-Z mean business.

Jay-Z’s and Beyonce’s value was estimated at $1.255bn (£971m) this year, according to Forbes. Roc Nation Sports has perhaps gone under the radar in the UK but the firm and Jay-Z mean business.

Roc Nation Sports have doubled their number of clients in under a year with Jay-Z representing athletes from five sports – boxing, basketball, American football, baseball and football.

He was the only agent to split his clients across more than one sport in 2016, according to Forbes’ list, demonstrating that he is willing to try something different, and perhaps that he is looking to expand beyond even the current biggest agencies.

The president of Roc Nation Sports, Juan Perez, revealed how players are selected, telling GQ: ‘First, we look at performance. You just have to be at a certain level, cream of the crop.

Ten boxers, 20 basketball players, 18 American football stars, 19 baseball players as well as Boateng and Lukaku are all on Roc Nation Sports’ books.

Baseball star Robinson Cano was Jay-Z’s first client back in April 2013 when the second baseman was playing for the New York Yankees.

The 35-year-old, who now plies his trade at the Seattle Mariners, is therefore the agency’s longest-serving customer.

Golden State Warriors’ star Kevin Durant, who won the NBA MVP award for a second consecutive year when they won their second successive championship this year, joined the agency in June 2013.

Jay-Z showed his commitment to expanding the agency by selling his share in the Brooklyn Nets so that there was no conflict of interest and he would be able to act as a basketball player’s agent.

Wide receiver Dez Bryant, who is currently a free agent, retired boxer Andre Ward, who ended his career undefeated, and Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley are also represented by Roc Nation Sports.

JAY-Z’S CURRENT CLIENTS 

Boxing: Andre Ward (retired), Darmani Rock, John Bauza, Junior Younan, Maurice Hooker, Meng Fanlong, Tramaine Williams, Tyler McCreary, Wellington Romero, Zhang Zhilei

Basketball: Angel Delgado, Caris Levert, Chris Boucher, Danny Green, Dwayne Bacon, Henry Ellenson, Isaiah Whitehead, Jalen Rose, James Young, Jeff Green, Jeremy Lin, Josh Hart, Justise Winslow, Kevin Durant, Moritz Wagner, Rudy Gay, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Willie Cauley-Stein, Wilson Chandler, Zhaire Smith

American football: CJ Prosise, Dez Bryant, Geno Smith, Greg Stroman Jr, Hue Jackson, Isaac Rochell, Jaire Alexander, Juju Smith-Schuster, Kahlil McKenzie, Leonard Fournette, Melvin Ingram, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Kwiatkoski, Ronnie Stanley, Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley, Victor Cruz, Yannick Ngakoue

Baseball: Braden Shipley, CC Sabathia, D.J. Peterson, Dominic Smith, Dustin Peterson, Erick Aybar, Jacob Nottingham, Jason Martin, Jeremiah Estrada, Josh Morgan, Justin Williams, Marcus Wilson, Miguel Sano, Mike Shawaryn, Robinson Cano, Rusney Castillo, Shelby Miller, Stephen Alemais, Yoenis Cespedes.

Football: Jerome Boateng, Romelu Lukaku

Football

The first footballer and European athlete to sign for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports was Germany’s Jerome Boateng.

The 29-year-old Bayern Munich defender, who was linked with a move to Manchester United this summer, joined the sports agency in July 2015.

Boateng visited Jay-Z’s 40/40 club in Brooklyn as well as the rapper’s private villa following the deal. ‘I took my sister and my best friend,’ Boateng told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. ‘It was a great day with Jay-Z. We could ask him anything.

THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL SPORTS AGENTS*

1= Scott Boras (baseball)

Commissions: $108m; Contracts: $1.9bn

1= Constantin Dumitrascu (football)

Commissions: $108m; Contracts: $1.1bn

3. Jorge Mendes (football)

Commissions: $77m; Contracts: $769m

4. Sam & Seth Levinson (baseball)

Commissions: $65m; Contracts: $1.3bn

5. Casey Close (baeball)

Commissions: $65m; Contracts: $1.2bn

6. Jeff Schwartz (basketball)

Commissions: $64m; Contracts: $1.7bn

7. Jonathan Barnett (football)

Commissions: $53m; Contracts: $534bn

8. Greg Genske (baseball)

Commissions: $49m; Contracts: $593m

9. Pat Brisson (ice hockey)

Commissions: $44m; Contracts: $1.1bn

10. Mino Raiola (football)

Commissions: $44m; Contracts: $435m

34. Jay-Z.

Commissions: $19m; Contracts: $862m

*According to most recent Forbes list .

‘We mostly talked about music and football. Jay-Z knows about football and has watched numerous games.

‘America is a big market. With Jay-Z and Roc Nation I have a lot, we want to try what is possible.’

Boateng has earned 73 caps for Germany and won the World Cup in 2014. At Bayern he has won the Champions League, the Bundesliga six times as well as the German Cup on three occasions.

Boateng and Jay-Z share similar interests — music and fashion. Boateng has his own playlist on Tidal and created a hip-hop tune with comedian Jack Whitehall ahead of the World Cup, which included Boateng rapping. His older brother George is a rapper, known as BTNG.

Jay-Z’s fashion interests are well-known while Boateng designs his own glasses — his brand is called JB by Jerome Boateng.

‘They have struck up a nice little friendship,’ Michael Yormark, Roc Nation Sports’ president of strategy and branding told BBC Sport.

‘Jay is a big soccer fan and Jerome is into music and fashion, those are things that Jay is passionate about also. They both love sports.

‘There were a lot of common connection points between the two of them and they hit it off really well.’

Romelu Lukaku joined Boateng as a client of Jay-Z’s in March this year although he is still represented by Raiola. The Belgium striker was ‘welcomed to the family’ in New York.

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette swapped shirts with Lukaku while the forward also posed alongside wide-receiver Victor Cruz and Shawn ‘Pecas’ Costner, a senior management executive at the agency.

Costner wrote on his Instagram: ‘Couple of family members welcoming Romelu Lukaku to the Roc Nation Sports family.’

Sportsmail understands that the sports agency is looking to sign up more footballers when the right players are identified.

‘Currently Roc Nation Sports represents Jerome Boateng and Romelu Lukaku and we are looking to expand our football division when the right opportunities develop,’ a source said.

THE WORLD’S BIGGEST SPORTS AGENCIES*

1. Creative Artists Agency

Commissions: $318m; Contracts: $8.5bn

2. Excel Sports Management

Commissions: $162m; Contracts: $3.4bn

3. Wasserman

Commissions: $136m; Contracts: $2.7bn

4. Independent Sports & Entertainment

Commissions: $118m; Contracts: $2n

5. Octagon

Commissions: $114m; Contracts: $2.7bn

6. Boras Corp

Commissions: $108m; Contracts: $1.9bn

7. Mondial Sports Management

Commissions: $108m; Contracts: $1.1bn

8. Getifute International

Commissions: $77m; Contracts: $769m

9.Newport Sports Management

Commissions: $73m; Contracts: $1.8bn

10. ACES

Commissions: $65m; Contracts: $1.list

33. Roc Nation

Commissions: $22m; Contracts: $906m

*According to most recent Forbes list.

Boateng’s connection with Jay-Z has caused friction between himself and Bayern, according to TZ.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of the club, has become frustrated with the influences Boateng has as a client of Roc Nation Sports.

Rummenigge questioned the form of the centre half following Bayern’s embarrassing 3-2 Champions League defeat by Rostov in November 2016.

‘Jerome has to find his balance again,’ he said. ‘There is a bit too much hype around him at the moment. It would be good for him and the club if he came back down to earth a bit.’

Boateng hit back by inviting Rummenigge to a face-to-face meeting.

‘I can only laugh about these statements,’ he said. ‘Next time he can say it personally in my face – and then it’s fine.’

Roc Nation Sports suffered a blow when Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown left the company in July 2014 just two months after getting the wide receiver’s signature. He wanted to link back up with Rosenhaus Sports, according to Fox Sports.

Boxer Miguel Cotto, meanwhile, worked with Roc Nation Sports for just two bouts before departing after an agreement on finances for a fight could not be reached, according to ESPN.

When Roc Nation Sports was set up back in the spring of 2013 it was in co-ordination with Creative Artists Agency (CAA). But in 2015 the partnership split, although the athletes they represented together remained the same.

‘We are ready to stand on our own,’ Perez said. ‘We built Roc Nation Sports into a home for hard working, dedicated world class athletes.’

CAA was ranked as the most powerful sports agency in Forbes’ list.

Future stars

LA Rams running back Todd Gurley won two major Offensive Player of the Year awards and was the Rushing Touchdowns Leader with 13 last year. He became the highest-paid player in that position in the NFL on $45m (£35m) this summer when he agreed a new four-year deal.

It would be hard to forget the name Saquon Barkley and the 21-year-old is an exciting prospect. New York Giants picked Barkley second in round one of the NFL draft from Penn State College this year. The running back set numerous records during his three campaigns in Pennsylvania, including 43 rushing touchdowns. He was also the Big Ten Running Back of the Year two years ago.

 

 

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