Agency to help team pursue sponsorships

CAA is going to bat for the New York Yankees.

Marking the agency’s latest move in the sports representation game, the percentery will pursue corporate sponsorships for the new Yankee Stadium, being built next to the team’s current home.

The new venue opens in 2009, and while CAA won’t be able to sell lucrative naming rights because the park will still be called Yankee Stadium, there are potentially lucrative sponsorship deals to be made.

The Yankees become the second Major League Baseball team in the CAA fold, as the agency already reps the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Since entering the sports biz by signing USC quarterback Matt Leinart (who subsequently left), CAA has acquired the established sports rosters of several agents who built those lists at IMG. That Ted Forstmann-owned powerhouse management company moved away from repping team-sport athletes because of league-mandated salary caps and commissions that, at 3%, are low compared to the 10% that agents commission in Hollywood talent deals.

After its pricey growth spree, CAA now makes on-field contract deals for LeBron James, Peyton Manning, David Beckham and the Yankees’ Derek Jeter. CAA doesn’t broker endorsement deals for James or Manning, the latter of whom has become one of the busiest sports pitchmen in memory. CAA does marketing deals for Beckham and Jeter. Commissioning marketing and endorsements deals is the most lucrative part of the business because those aspects are not league-regulated.

Howard Nuchow, co-head of CAA Sports, has ties to the Yankees dating back to his days with Mandalay, which jointly operated several minor league baseball teams with the Yanks.

The challenge with the new venue, Nuchow said, will be “to leverage our relationships in the corporate world to find matches with the history and heritage of the Yankees.”

Yankees chief operating officer Lonn A. Trost said, “CAA’s worldwide client base and global reach is extremely well-suited for the New York Yankees and its global brand identification.”

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