“This is Roc Nation Pledge Your Allegiance”
-Jay-Z ‘Run This Town’
Shawn Carter aka Jay-Z indeed plans to run this town. The music mogul has hit the pinnacle of his rap career and has no intent on stopping. His transition from running the hip-hop industry to the sports world began with his investment in the now Brooklyn Nets. Amid protests and skepticism Jay-Z eased fears and helped transform the Nets to one of the most highly publicized teams. The swanky Barclay’s Center, home of the Nets features one of his sleek 40/40 clubs, a Rocawear store selling his clothing and the advertising agency used by the Nets is half-owned by the business savvy rapper. His ownership went way beyond his small percentage; he became the face of the franchise, made the team cool, and boosted the importance of Brooklyn.
Now Jay-Z is moving on to another venture, Roc Nation Sports. Not to be compared to the failed No Limit Sports Company run by Master P, this is on an entirely different level. He’s teamed up with CAA the Creative Arts Agency, one of the biggest sports agencies in the world. CAA Sports represents more than 800 athletes, in addition to coaches, on-air broadcasters and sports personalities brokering deals totaling well into the billions of dollars. They provide a gateway to licensing, endorsement, speaking, philanthropy and videogame opportunities. Now that they are partnering with Jay-Z and Roc Nation the opportunities for its clients will rise substantially.
For his first client it was only right that Jay-Z do it big signing New York Yankees All-Star second basemen, Robinson Cano. Cano will become a free agent at the end of this season if he doesn’t sign an extension with the Yankees. Cano is reportedly being scouted by the Los Angeles Dodgers the hometown team of the CAA but Yankee fans are depending on Jay-Z to keep the star in New York and in a Yankees cap that Hov “made more famous than a Yankee can.”
The Roc Nation Sports group has also ventured into the NFL with star wide receiver Victor Cruz of the New York Giants. Cruz was seen throwing up the Roc symbol after every touchdown last season raising speculation as to what he and Jay-Z were cooking up. When Roc Nation Sports was announced and Cano was signed it was pretty much assumed that Cruz would be next up at bat. Cruz indeed joined CAA but not without ruffling the feathers of other sports agents. It’s well documented that Jay-Z was involved in the recruitment to bring Cruz aboard the CAA agency however that violated NFL Players Association rules. At the time Jay-Z was not an NFLPA certified individual and it was against the rules for him to be involved in the recruitment of prospective player-clients. Unfortunately for those complaining agents the chances of anyone going up against the powerhouse of CAA and Jay-Z combined is slim to none.
Of course it doesn’t stop there the NBA world must be conquered as well. However in order to represent NBA athletes Jay-Z had to divest his ownership of the Brooklyn Nets. The legendary rapper had brought so much notoriety to the team and it seemed as if he was abandoning them but it’s quite the contrary. He addressed the chatter that brewed in his latest song “Open Letter”:
“Would’ve brought the Nets to Brooklyn for free
Except I made millions off it, you fuckin’ dweeb
I still own the building; I’m still keeping my seat
Y’all buy that bullshit, you’d better keep y’all receipt.”
He also released a statement on his Life and Times website. “The Nets have made their mark on the NBA and as they enter a new era, Roc Nation does as well; as we embark on Roc Nation Sports,” the statement continued. “Our newest endeavor is committed to building the brands of professional athletes as we have done for some of today’s top music artists. For Roc Nation Sports to function at its full potential, NBA rules stipulate that I relinquish my ownership in the Brooklyn Nets. It was a tough decision but as I stated earlier, it’s not about ownership. Congratulations to The Nets on a great season and making the playoffs! I will always be a Brooklyn Net.”
As to what’s next for Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sports, the sky is the limit. The allure of the many opportunities that Roc Nation and CAA can offer will no doubt entice some of the biggest names in the game. The boy from Marcy Projects went from dealing drugs to building one of the biggest empires that hip-hop has ever seen. From music labels to clothing, liquor, club ownership and now sports representation, this iconic figure is definitely one to admire and salute.
– Shaina Auxilly (@Shay_Marie)