The Gersh Agency is ready for some football.
Gersh has acquired sports management firm Steve Feldman & Associates, and the percentery’s toppers, Bob and David Gersh, said theirs will now be the only Hollywood agency with inhouse dealmakers certified by the National Football League’s Players Assn. Gersh will make the on-field deals as well as negotiate any marketing and other opportunities for the players outside of football.
Agency will use its incoming roster of 30 pro football players as the catalyst to launch Gersh Sports. Feldman and newly hired sports marketing consultant Toi Cook will run the division.
The NFL deals alone will make the division fiscally worthwhile.
“We’ll cover our nut just in the football contracts,” David Gersh said. “That will distinguish us from the others, and the gravy comes in the opportunities in merchandising, marketing, TV film and other areas.”
Feldman will be a senior VP at the agency, while Cook will be senior veep of business development for the new division. Josh Luchs, who has worked with Feldman since 2003 and has 19 years in the sports business, has also joined the department.
Gersh will broaden into other sports in hopes of developing a client base that lends itself to the marketing and merchandising deals, which can be far more lucrative than sports contracts both for the athletes and the agency. Agents who make football deals don’t usually get more than a 3% commission for their efforts.
“My choice to consolidate my sports management company into the Gersh Agency comes at a time when athletes are looking for off-field opportunities, both during their playing careers and once they are over,” Feldman said. “My clients realize this move will allow us to maintain the personalized service that seems to be waning in larger sports-management firms.”
Move makes Gersh the second Hollywood agency with a full-fledged sports division, after WMA, which makes some of its athletes’ on-field deals but does not currently have a football player on its roster. Clients include Michelle Wie, Serena Williams, Kevin Garnett and freshly signed boxing champ Floyd Mayweather.
Gersh is the second percentery to make a foray into football after CAA signed Heisman Trophy-winning USC quarterback Matt Leinart. But CAA will make Leinart’s marketing and merchandising deals and leave the football contract to vet sports agent Leigh Steinberg.
The 30 Gersh clients who come with the Feldman & Associates acquisition include established stars such as Rodney Harrison and Corey Dillon of the New England Patriots and Lorenzo Neal of the San Diego Chargers. It also includes such potential high draft picks as the U. of Nebraska’s Daniel Bullocks, Fresno State’s Richard Marshall and USC players Fred Matua and John Walker.