Apparently bored with conquering the entertainment world, Jay-Z has decided he wants to become a sports agent. Well, he's already got the first lesson down—how to poach clients from bigger agents.
Shawn Carter's entertainment management company—which already represents an impressive roster of musicians and songwriters—just announced they've signed the first pro athlete to their roster. It's Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees, who until today was represented by legendary baseball agent Scott Boras. As the negotiator for Alex Rodriguez, Prince Fielder, Barry Zito, and many others, no one had put together more record-breaking contacts than Boras, but he won't get the chance to do it again for Cano.
Cano's new deal is actually a partnership between CAA Sports, who will handle his baseball contracts, and Roc Nation, which take care of endorsements and business deals. That won't always be the case though. According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the company plans to become a full service agency, eventually handling every aspects of an athlete's career. Not only that, Mr. Carter is planning to personally get into game—beyond his very small minority stake (if large marketing presence) in the New Jersey Nets—by becoming a licensed agent so he negotiate for clients directly. Unlike his mostly ceremonial role as part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets (which he would have to give up if he wants to represent NBA players), Jay plans to roll up his sleeves and starting throwing very expensive haymakers at general managers.
Roc Nation is still a relatively small company and has no experience with athletes, but Cano is obviously betting that Jay-Z's business savvy, powerful contacts, and cultural firepower will pay off in the long run. The man doesn't just know all the latest trends, he set them himself. And if you don't believe him, just ask him. He famously rapped on "Empire State of Mind" that "I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can." We (almost) believe him.