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Published on April 16th, 2013 | by Lydia Brooks

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Jay-Z Launches Roc Nation Sports Management Company

Jay-Z, who currently represents artists like M.I.A., Rihanna, and Shakira through his company Roc Nation Entertainment, has just landed another superstar, and this time it’s a baseball player.

That’s right: Jay-Z has signed the New York Yankees’ Robinson Cano, otherwise known as the best second baseman in baseball, as his first client in his latest business venture – Roc Nation Sports. The company, which is described as a “full-service sports management company,” was launched on April 2nd, and will function as a partnership between Roc Nation Entertainment and the sports management wing of Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Cano is set to become a free agent in the offseason unless he makes another deal with the Yankees. “At this point in my career, I am ready to take a more active role in my endeavors on and off the field,” said Cano. “I am confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and CAA Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short and long-term goals.”

This is not Jay-Z’s first sports business deal, although it does change his existing role in the industry. Jay-Z is currently a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, with his share in the company valued at around $350,000. With the founding of Roc Nation Sports, however, Jay-Z has started to sell off his Nets shares in order to avoid any potential conflict of interest: He is expected to seek certification as a sports agent himself, and hopes to represent NBA players. Ownership of an NBA team would bar him from representing players in the league, and could also interfere with his baseball deal since the Yankees and the Nets share the same cable broadcaster.

But despite giving up his minority ownership of the team, Jay-Z will retain his position as one of the directors of the Barclays center, the stadium where the Nets currently play. Jay-Z recently rhymed about this situation in his song “Open Letter,” rapping: “Woulda brought the Nets to Brooklyn for free/Except I made millions off it you f— dweeb/I still own the building, I’m still keeping my seats/Y’all buy that bulls—, y’all better keep your receipts.”

Unfortunately, rap music and sports management have an ill-fated history. Master P’s failed No Limit Sports once represented NFL running back Ricky Williams in a deal that was later labeled by ESPN as the worst deal for a player in the history of the league.

Cano no doubt hopes that his chances are better off with Jay-Z, who at least has some experience in the business of sports, and also has reliable partner in CAA, who already represent over 800 athletes and have negotiated over $1.1 billion worth in MLB contracts since 2011.


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