*Must Watch* Marshawn Lynch (HILARIOUSLY) Sells Skittles on EVINE Live

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INTERVIEW: Taking Her Career to New Heights, the Journey of Tamara Curl-Green (Front Office Sports)

By: Travis Gorsch (@tgorsch3), Front Office Sports

Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Tamara Curl-Green, Senior Marketing Manager for the Houston Dynamo & Dash. Tamara has been very busy lately in large part due to the buzz surrounding Carli Lloyd after the USWNT victory in the World Cup. Despite the tight schedule she was gracious enough to have offered up her time and insight into what it takes to succeed in digital media positions, how she became an expert in a brand new field, and misconceptions about social media managers. 

You graduated from Duke with a Bachelors in Philosophy. After graduating what were your plans and did you think you would be where you are now? How did it prepare you for your career?

“The plan was to be a writer. I’ve always been attracted to writing. When I was a senior in college, I projected 20 years into the future and though I wanted to be a writer, I also wanted to be as successful as possible. At the time, the industry was kind of fizzling and fading out. That turned in to a job in public relations after I finished school. I thought public relations was a good kind of start and I was able to write web content, stories, and network. I was the youngest in the office and this is when Twitter was starting to get popular so that’s how I transitioned into digital media.”

You took an internship with the Houston Astros in Ticket Sales and Services. What advice do you have for interns in moving up the career ladder?

“My best advice to interns is to keep your eyes on the prize. Know what you want to do and know what your end game is. I went in to ticket sales knowing I didn’t ever want to sell tickets long term. Logically that internship had the most spaces. I was more likely to get on in the tickets department. I also know that ticket sales is a huge part of the business. So I thought, if I understand a big part of the business that would make me a more attractive candidate in the future.”

You moved from Houston to Colorado by yourself without knowing anyone in Colorado. How did you come to make this decision? How important is it to step out of your comfort zone and have a willingness to move?

“I worked for the Houston Aeros, a minor league hockey team, who were going to be relocating. I looked at it like I was going to be relocating anyway. So I started looking around all over the country for a position. My mentor, David Burke, had moved to Colorado to work under his mentor. He kept joking saying I want you to come to Colorado, I want you to come to Colorado. While I was in the process of interviewing for other teams, I called him and asked him if he knew anyone and could do me a favor. And that’s when he said here’s what we can do for you if you come to Colorado. I wasn’t going to let something like location stop me from taking an ideal position. The Rapids were offering me exactly what I wanted to do at a higher level. If I needed to trudge through snow every day I was going to do that. My career was more important than any type of comfort. I didn’t know anyone when I moved to Colorado. It was a career move.”

What tips do you have for young professionals and students about networking? Is there a specific example that you can think of where networking played to your advantage?

“The strange part is I’m shy and introvert. Networking has always been kind of frightening for me. It’s a scary process. My advice is to meet as many people as possible but only ask for relevant favors. If a student comes to me and asks if I know the president of the NBA, no I don’t know him. It’s about asking when it counts. With David Burke I knew that he worked in the NBA so I called him. I called him and said to him I really want this job, do you anyone there that can get me to the next step. And the other advice is, don’t rest on the fact that you know someone that knows someone. How much does your work speak for you? I built a strong network of relationships by proving that I am a hard worker. If you’re not a great worker than the word of mouth isn’t going to do anything for you. You have to be willing to do the work.”

One of your mentors is David Burke, former President of the Houston Aeros. What did David teach you and how have you applied it to your career in sports?

“David is fun loving and he always told me that my career should be fun. That’s my barometer for everything. Sometimes it’s just tiring. When we made the playoffs with the Aeros, we worked something like 120 hours in one week. If I look up one day and say this is no longer fun then I know it’s time to move on. I really held on to that piece for years even though it’s so simple.”

This is your third position managing the social media and digital marketing efforts of a professional sport’s team. How did your previous experience as a social media and digital marketing manager prepare you for your position with the Dynamo and Dash?

“My first social media position was with the Aeros. I grew up with the digital industry. My age group is the first that graduated and got paid to do social media. We were the first people to get paid to tweet. As much as I could have prepared myself, I really couldn’t have because it was all new. It was fun and I had to be self-taught. I wasn’t necessarily relying on my schooling or my manager because I was expected to be the expert since it was a newer position. Anyone who manages digital or social has to continue to learn on the move. Every day there is something new to learn.”

I recently saw a couple tweets by Caity Kauffman giving people a little more information about what really goes in to being a social media manager in professional sports.  What are some common misconceptions about your position? What kind of person does it take to be a successful social media manager?

“Social media is an interesting beast. It takes a high level of creativity but it also takes analytical skills that people don’t take account for. It’s not just sitting behind a keyboard. It’s content planning, scheduling, being able to properly tell an organizations story, etc. You have to have high level writing skills. Anyone can communicate but how effectively can you do it in 140 characters? How good at writing are you? Do you have the mental capacity to be an analyzer? Can you take those numbers and turn them in to actionable insights for your organization? It’s all of those things. Can you put yourself on a wheel that constantly spins and stay oriented?”

In your opinion which do you think is more important experience or education? Why?

“I think education plays a key part. I’m a philosophy major. I learned how to convey a thought, tell a story, and answer questions. That’s part of it. There are skills that you can learn in a classroom but on the job experience is the most valuable part of that. It’s easy for me to say that. How does someone get that experience out of college if someone like me doesn’t give them a chance? It’s definitely a combination of the two. There’s stuff that you can do to build yourself as a student such as internships. Do you have your own website? Are you on Twitter and LinkedIn? That tells me a lot about what you can do for the organization.”

If you could go back and change anything about your journey in the sports industry what would it be?

“I wouldn’t change anything because our experiences make us who we are. I would tell myself in 2010 that everything I’m doing now will count and matter later. That’s part of being in any entry level position in any industry. You feel overlooked but people will notice you if you work hard.”

What advice do you have for students and young professionals about using their social media accounts to create their own personal brand for themselves?

“Honestly I don’t think I use social media effectively myself. I use it a little differently. I think it’s more about being yourself rather than behaving in a correct way. It’s an accurate representation of who I am as a person. My interests are varied. You get a lot about my personality. So I guess my advice would be to know what the limits are and be smart about it. Personality is bigger than tweeting links to ESPN articles. Be authentic both professionally and personally.”

Parting Wisdom?

“It’s a beautiful thing that we get to do. I try to keep it in perspective. My job is to make sure everyone is having fun; to put on an event every week. What I do is fun. I think we should hold on to that as much as we can. Obviously we have to take it seriously but don’t take it too seriously. I attack my job thinking about making other people have fun.”

We would like to thank Tamara for her time and insight and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors!

You can follow her on Twitter here or connect with her on LinkedIn here!

This interview is the second edition of “Winning Edge Wednesday” in congruence with our partnership with the Winning Edge Leadership Academy. Every Wednesday we will be featuring the story of a woman or minority working in the sports business industry. If you know of a professional you would like featured, drop us a line at russ@frontofficesports.org.

National Labor Relations Board Rejects Northwestern Football Players’ Union Bid

The National Labor Relations Board on Monday dismissed a petition by Northwestern football players who were seeking to unionize, effectively denying their claim that they are university employees and should be allowed to collectively bargain. In a unanimous decision that was a clear victory for the college sports establishment, the five-member board declined to exert its jurisdiction in the case and preserved, for now, one of the N.C.A.A.’s core principles: that college athletes are primarily students.

The board did not rule directly on the central question in the case — whether the players, who spend long hours on football and help generate millions of dollars for Northwestern, are university employees. Instead, it found that the novelty of the petition and its potentially wide-ranging impacts on college sports would not have promoted “stability in labor relations.” Citing competitive balance and the potential impact on N.C.A.A. rules, the board made it clear that it harbored many reservations about the ramifications of granting college athletes, much less a single team, collective bargaining rights.

“The board has never before been asked to assert jurisdiction in a case involving college football players, or college athletes of any kind,” the seven-page decision read, adding, “Even if scholarship players were regarded as analogous to players for professional sports teams who are considered employees for purposes of collective bargaining, such bargaining has never involved a bargaining unit consisting of a single team’s players.”

Northwestern University, which strongly urged its players to vote down the union ahead of last year’s secret ballot election, released a statement from Alan Cubbage, a spokesman. “We believe strongly that unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address the concerns raised by student-athletes,” it read. “We are pleased that the N.L.R.B. has agreed with the university’s position.”

Across college sports, many others praised the ruling. The commissioners of 31 of the largest conferences issued a statement calling the N.L.R.B. decision “the right call,” and Donald Remy, the N.C.A.A.’s chief legal officer, said it would allow the association “to continue to make progress for the college athlete without risking the instability to college sports that the N.L.R.B. recognized might occur under the labor petition.”

The decision is a blow to the union movement in college sports, which was led by the former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and backed by the College Athletes Players Association, a United Steelworkers-supported group that sought to represent the players. The group could sue to force the N.L.R.B. to exert jurisdiction in the case, but the little-used option would be akin to a Hail Mary pass.

Ramogi Huma, president of the College Athletes Players Association, said he was disappointed by the decision but would not rule out future unionization attempts at other colleges.

“It’s notable they didn’t rule that players aren’t employees,” he said. “The door is still open.”

The board wrote that its decision applied only to the Northwestern case — there was no precedent established for graduate teaching assistants or student janitors — and left open the possibility it could re-examine the issue if college athletes brought a similar case in the future.

“This decision is politically smart,” said Joe Ambash, a lawyer who represented Brown University in front of the N.L.R.B. when its graduate teaching students sought to unionize. “The board would have faced a firestorm of protest if they made college football players employees.”

In announcing the union push last year, Colter had hoped to reset the balance of power between players, their universities and the N.C.A.A. He argued that with all the time demands on players and the ever-increasing money flowing through college sports, players deserved a greater say in issues like safety and long-term health care.

Peter Ohr, a regional director of the N.L.R.B. in Chicago, ruled last year that players on scholarship were employees based on the hours they spent each week on football, the strict rules set by coaches and the financial aid they received as compensation. Northwestern players — 76 were eligible — voted whether to certify the union last April, but the votes were impounded pending a ruling by the full N.L.R.B. Now that the board has ruled in favor of Northwestern, the ballots will not be counted.

“There may have been some sympathy for the players’ argument,” said Wilma Liebman, a former chairwoman of the N.L.R.B. “But siding with the players may have seemed like too great a leap, so this is a compromise.”

Chief among the board’s reasons for declining to consider the case were the complexities of an N.C.A.A. in which one team might be unionized while others were not, and whether a union would negotiate terms that conflicted with the association’s rules. The N.L.R.B., which has jurisdiction only over the private sector, was also reluctant to wade into territory that could have raised implications for public universities. A vast majority of top-level college football programs are at public colleges, and Northwestern is the only private institution in the 14-member Big Ten Conference.

In the aftermath of Ohr’s ruling, two states — Michigan and Ohio — pushed laws that banned college athletes from unionizing.

Still, much has changed in college sports since Colter and Huma announced the union petition. The N.C.A.A. changed its governance structure to allow its wealthiest conferences to make some of their own rules, and those leagues, in turn, increased the value of a scholarship by a few thousand dollars and now guarantee them for four years. A number of conferences and individual colleges have pledged to offer more comprehensive health care. And last summer a federal judge found that the N.C.A.A. had violated antitrust laws by not allowing players to profit from their names (the ruling was stayed last month by an appellate court).

“The Northwestern players’ courage has done a lot to change the game,” Huma said. “They showed how much power the players have when they assert their rights under the law.”

August 17, 2015

EVENT: TPG Sports Group Sports Agent School

DESCRIPTION

On November 6-7 Chicago hosts Agent School, the premier training ground for anyone interested in professional athlete representation.  The event is perfect for anyone interested in becoming a sports agent and will offer real world experience and networking with the best in the industry.  TPG will bring together the most successful agents, team executives and sports professionals to provide an inside look into the agent industry.

This one of a kind event will present education, advice and information on the inner workings of the sports agent industry. Speakers combine to represent over $1.5 Billion in current and future contracts. Tickets will be released on Thursday, August 13, 2015. To register for the agent school & find out more information visit:

http://tpgsportsgroup.com/events/agent-school/?utm_source=Past+Attendees&utm_campaign=9cb36e3b4e-Agent_School_Release8_10_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1a2b4a57d6-9cb36e3b4e-66924293#tick.

Associated Press: NFLPA Releases Brady Appeal Testimony In CT Filing

NEW YORK — The public now has more information to decide whether New England quarterback Tom Brady was truthful about deflated footballs.

The NFL Players Association released the 457-page transcript of his June testimony in the deflated balls controversy in a filing Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. In it, Brady denies tampering with footballs in the AFC championship game, or telling anyone to.

His testimony occurred in an arbitration hearing before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell last week decided to uphold a four-game suspension of Brady issued by a subordinate.

The league asked federal Judge Richard Berman last week to find that the NFL acted properly. Berman has ordered Brady and Goodell to appear before him next week. He has strongly urged they settle.

Brady was suspended after it was found that the Patriots had used deflated footballs in the AFC title game.

Click here to read the full transcript of the June testimony.

AP

USA TODAY: 9th Circuit Grants NCAA Request For A Stay; O’Bannon Injunction On Hold

Pictured: Ed O’Bannon, the face of the lawsuit against the NCAA seeking deferred compensation for college athletes

A panel of judges from the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday granted the NCAA’s request for a stay of the injunction in the Ed O’Bannon antitrust lawsuit. The injunction had been scheduled to take effect Saturday.

Judges Sidney R. Thomas, Jay S. Bybee and Gordon J. Quist wrote that “without expressing a view as to either party’s likelihood of success on the merits,”  they are maintaining the status quo in the case until their ruling becomes official.

The injunction would allow schools to begin offering football and men’s basketball players as much as $5,000 per year in deferred compensation for the use of their names, images and likenesses.

The injunction was issued in August 2014 by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, who found that the NCAA’s rules at the time that basically limited athletes to tuition, room, board, books and fees “unreasonably restrain trade” in violation of antitrust laws. It had been due to take effect Saturday because that is when schools can begin sending written offer letters to athletes who are heading into their senior year of high school.

Michael Carrier, a Rutgers-Camden law school professor and antitrust expert who has been involved with a friend-of-the-court filing on behalf of the plaintiffs, told USA TODAY Sports via e-mail: “While this is not a guarantee that the NCAA has won on the merits of the case, at a minimum, it signals that the court is wrestling with what to do and may have issues with (Wilken’s) decision.”

“It’s disappointing,” the plaintiffs’ lead attorney Michael Hausfeld said, “because it doesn’t resolve the uncertainty (Wilken’s) ruling has engendered about what intercollegiate athletics will look like for the athletes and the schools.”

Asked whether he thought the 9th Circuit’s decision to grant the stay was an indication of potential problem for his side, Hausfeld said: “Absolutely not. … Clearly this is not over.”

Under the injunction, incoming and returning Bowl Subdivision football players and Division I men’s basketball players could begin receiving credit for the deferred pay beginning in the 2016-17 school year. The credit would be in addition to scholarships that, beginning with the upcoming fall semester, can cover the athletes’ full cost of attending school — not just the traditional tuition, fees, room, board and books. The athletes would be able to receive the deferred money when they finish their college careers.

However, on July 17 the NCAA asked for the stay, arguing that the association “and many schools and students” will be “irreparably harmed” if the injunction was allowed to take effect as scheduled, even if it was later vacated by the 9th Circuit or by the Supreme Court. The 9th Circuit panel heard oral arguments on the NCAA’s appeal in March, but it has not yet ruled.

The panel’s action Friday came as two high-level NCAA governing panels were trying to get the association ready for the prospect of having to comply with the injunction on Saturday.

“We are pleased the Ninth Circuit today granted the NCAA’s motion for a stay,” NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement. “As a result, the NCAA will not be implementing any changes to its rules in response to the district court’s injunction at this time. We continue to wait for the Ninth Circuit’s final ruling.”

If the injunction had taken effect Saturday because of inaction by the 9th Circuit, or because of its full affirmation of Wilken’s ruling, the association was facing the need to make a number of immediate changes to the Division I rules or to enact some type of at least temporary rules waiver. And even then, there was considerable uncertainty about how conferences and schools would proceed — especially given a combination of the Division I rules and an interpretation that the NCAA made in October 2013 regarding athletes who intend to graduate from high school midyear and enroll in college in the same academic year, as some football players now do.

Big Ten Conference commissioner Jim Delany said Friday before the stay was issued, “I’m sure there will be lots of details that need to be addressed,” Delany said during a news conference in Chicago, where the conference was staging its annual football media days.

The injunction theoretically would have made it possible that a school could have offered — and a recruit could have signed — an institutional financial aid agreement that includes the deferred compensation. Because NCAA rules now generally prevent schools and coaches from choosing not to renew an athlete’s scholarship for athletic reasons — these could become multiyear commitments.

Athletes not intending to enroll in college mid-year cannot sign offers from schools until the beginning of the applicable National Letter-of-Intent signing period. This year’s early signing period for basketball and other sports begins Nov. 11.

The plaintiffs opposed the NCAA’s request for the stay, saying the association had been given ample time to be ready for implementation and its request for a delay was “nothing more than a frantic defendant hoping to preserve a profitable anti-competitive scheme for a few more months.”

“The simple fact,” the plaintiffs wrote, “is that no member school needs to change a thing under the injunction if it does not wish to do so. If the NCAA is correct, and modest compensation to college athletes is truly so thorny, no member school will choose to offer it after Aug. 1, 2015.

However, from comments made by some coaches in recent days, it seemed clear where they expect this to head if athletes are allowed to receive the deferred compensation.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said during an interview at the Big Ten meeting that he has not read much about the injunction and isn’t sure what the next move will be.

“We’ll talk about it (among the athletic department) and I’m sure the conference will trend in one way, I would guess,” Ferentz said.

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald told InsideNU.com that he wouldn’t make any moves with speaking with the school’s athletics director Jim Phillips, but he also said: “I look at, like, the cost of attendance, and the minute we were able to do that, not only are we doing it for football, but we’re doing it for all 19 sports, and that’s the way that we’ve always done things,” Fitzgerald said. “So if [the $5,000 in deferred compensation] ends up being what is able to happen, I’m assuming that we’ll do whatever it is we can do within the guidelines of the NCAA.”

However, in an interview with USA TODAY Sports last week, Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez indicated that his school might choose not to offer the deferred compensation.

He said he would be discussing the matter with other Big Ten AD’s this week, but he noted his department is now spending an additional $2 million a year to finance cost-of-attendance-based scholarships and another $2 million a year to pay for additional food and snacks that have been allowed since an NCAA rules change in April 2014.

“I think all of us sit back right now – Sept. 1, we start paying full cost of attendance. We’ve already made the decision on feeding our athletes. … I’m not ready to do anymore right now,” he said. “I’m not prepared to. I don’t know what our people would decide but I’m not ready to make that move, if it was available.”

Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY Sports3:30 p.m. EDT July 31, 2015
Contributing: Erik Brady in Madison, Wis.; Kevin Trahan in Chicago

Sources: Union proposing to use TV revenue to help fund health insurance for former NBA players

National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts

The National Basketball Players Association is proposing to use millions of dollars of its share of the NBA’s impending television revenue windfall to cover health-care insurance costs for its former players, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The plan is estimated to cost between $10 million-$15 million a year and a vote on passage of the union’s initiative is set for the NBPA’s July 20 membership meeting in Las Vegas. The union’s 30 team player representatives are expected to pass the plan with ease and start the process of covering the retired players quickly, league sources said.

The NBPA has been researching the names and addresses of the approximate 1,500 living ex-players and hoping to offer three separate health-care options to them, sources said.

Stories of destitute ex-players needing basic medical care – including the inability to afford the likes of knee and hip replacements – moved executive director Michele Roberts, director of player relations Roger Mason and the NBPA’s executive committee to probe the idea with the league’s players, sources said. Several players told Yahoo Sports that they’re enthusiastic over the idea.

The NBA is preparing to welcome a new $2.7 billion annual TV deal into its coffers in 2016, with team revenues and player salaries rising dramatically. The league was founded in 1946, and there are scores of living players who predated the explosion of salaries and revenue in the league.


How To Spot A Good Sports Agent by Cameron Chung (Sportsagentblog.com)

HOW TO SPOT A GOOD SPORTS AGENT
By: Cameron Chung (Sportsagentblog.com)

Sports agents — or at least young lawyers wanting to become sports agents — are a dime a dozen, which is no small surprise given the relentless popularity and prioritization of sports in America and the ongoing romanticization of sports agentry (Thanks, “Jerry Maguire”). Finding a goodsports agent, however, is more akin to finding a needle in a haystack, as is evidenced by the depressing number of professional athletes who end up broke and/or bankrupt by the end of their careers.

In every sport, it’s clear that players are in need of competent representation and advice, so whether you’re looking to improve your sports agentry game, you’re completely new to the field, or you’re a professional athlete wondering whether your current agent is up to snuff, here are some of the characteristics common to good sports agents.

1.  A HOLISTIC APPROACH

A good sports agent isn’t after fast money for himself or his client, unless that fast money fits into a broader and more holistic approach that serves the athletes’ goals and values. Too often, sports agents — and the athletes they represent — assume that good representation begins and ends with getting paid, and while money is undoubtedly essential, an athlete’s personal values, brand, desire to be in a specific location, family, personal goals, and more must also be considered in every potential deal and endorsement. It’s true that there are a lot of ways to make money off of professional sports.

Bettors are increasingly relying on sportsbooks south of Los Angeles to make their money, but the professional athlete’s approach is more complex. A good sports agent understands those complexities and has the ability to guide his athletes’ in a holistic manner that will benefit their entire lives and careers — not just their respective bank accounts.

2.  HONESTY

The cornerstone of nearly every good relationship is honesty, whether that relationship is a friendship, a marriage, or one between a lawyer and his client, which is why a good sports agent always has a reputation for honesty. An athlete needs to know his agent will tell him his honest opinion, whether it’s positive or negative. To a player, honesty about options, what to leverage in a contract negotiation, the true value a team does or doesn’t place on him, and the like is priceless, and it will result in greater financial and professional success over the long-term.

3.  REAL RELATIONSHIP

In keeping with the emphasis on honesty, the best sports agents have real relationships with the athletes they represent. Far from being a “Yes” man, a good agent will work to develop and maintain a relationship characterized by openness, honesty, and mutual respect. While it’s possible for a sports agent to help an athlete make money even if the two of them don’t enjoy a relationship that extends beyond the signing of contracts and the collecting of commissions and fees, for an athlete and sports agent to reach their mutual financial and career potential, a real relationship is usually a pre-requisite.

4.  WISDOM

Wisdom can be a hard quality to notice in a person until enough time has passed to see whether or not some his advice and choices ended up panning out, but even before such evidence is available, there are clues as to whether or not a sports agent has wisdom.

Is the agent extremely knowledgeable about the sport or sports his athletes work in, the cultures, and the legal intricacies involved in each? Does he exercise good judgment in his own career and personal choices? While experience is the best way to judge whether or not an individual embodies the wisdom an athlete will need throughout a professional sports career, expertise and good judgment are revealing as well.

5.  ABILITY TO PRIORITIZE

A professional sports career is a tricky path to manage, because there is so much to consider in regards to every athlete. How important is winning? How important is weather? How important is starting? How important is coaching style? Does he need to be near family? How important is payout? All these questions and more affect an athlete’s decision-making, and a good sports agent can help him weigh each consideration appropriately. Few athletes get everything they want, but a good sports agent can help them realize where their priorities truly lie, which will keep everyone much happier in the long run.

A sports agent is a vital ally for most professional athletes, but only insomuch as that sports agent embodies the qualities listed here and those like them.  Sports agents — or at least young lawyers wanting to become sports agents — are a dime a dozen, which is no small surprise given the relentless popularity and prioritization of sports in America and the ongoing romanticization of sports agentry (Thanks, “Jerry Maguire”). Finding a good sports agent, however, is more akin to finding a needle in a haystack, as is evidenced by the depressing number of professional athletes who end up broke and/or bankrupt by the end of their careers.

In every sport, it’s clear that players are in need of competent representation and advice, so whether you’re looking to improve your sports agentry game, you’re completely new to the field, or you’re a professional athlete wondering whether your current agent is up to snuff, here are some of the characteristics common to good sports agents.

How To Spot A Good Sports Agent
By: Cameron Chung, Sportsagentblog.com

Nike Wins $1 Billion Contract With NBA as Adidas Walks Away

Matthew Townsend, Scott Soshnick
Bloomberg News

Nike Inc. won an eight-year deal to make uniforms for the National Basketball Association, taking over for Adidas AG after that company’s contract runs out in 2017.

Nike will become the first apparel partner to have its logo appear on all on-court uniform designs, according to a statement Wednesday. The company is paying about $1 billion for the contract, according to a person familiar with the deal who asked not to be identified because the terms are private.

“Nike will be instrumental in our collective efforts to grow the game globally while applying the latest in technology to the design of our uniforms and on-court products,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in the statement.

Adidas said in March that it decided not to renew its 11-year NBA partnership. The decision reflected a change of direction by the German company, which is putting more emphasis on developing new products and sponsoring individual players. Last year, Adidas signed deals with four of the top six NBA draft picks, including Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid.

Nike will now have the global rights to design and make jerseys, in addition to warm-up outfits and shooting shirts. The Beaverton, Oregon-based company was already the footwear and apparel provider for USA Basketball, the governing body for the country’s Olympic teams. Nike also has some of the NBA’s best-known players as endorsers, including Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Greg Rossiter, a Nike spokesman, declined to discuss the terms of the deal.

Stock Gains

Shares of Nike rose 0.5 percent to $103.88 at the close in New York on Thursday. The stock has gained 8 percent this year.

The company, which has been a marketing partner of the sports league since 1992, also will make apparel for the WNBA and NBA’s development league.

“Having the Nike logo on the jerseys can help grow the business,” said Brian Yarbrough, an analyst for Edward Jones & Co. “The bigger aspect is it keeps the competitors’ logos off the jerseys.”

In the fiscal year through May 2014, Nike’s basketball-related sales rose 19 percent to $3.1 billion. It’s the company’s second-largest category after running.

This marks the second time Nike, the world’s largest supplier of athletic gear, will replace Adidas as the sponsor of a major U.S. sports league. It also took over the National Football League license for uniforms and apparel in 2012 from Adidas-owned Reebok.

Nike has been on a roll after revamping its struggling China division and benefiting from the trend of consumers wearing fashionable athletic gear as everyday apparel. That’s helped the company generate growth in mature markets including North America, where sales increased 10 percent to $3.25 billion last quarter.

Adrian Peterson Suspension Case to be heard Aug. 13

Federal judge David Doty has scheduled an Aug. 13 hearing for the NFLPA’s motion to hold commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL and the NFL Management Council in civil contempt. Doty ruled on Feb. 26 that Peterson’s suspension should be vacated, but the league put Peterson back on the commissioner’s exempt list that day and did not reinstate him until April 16.