Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sports: What Are Their Prospects? Experts Weigh In

In rhyme, Jay-Z has name-checked some of the biggest athletes in the world. And now he’s hoping to ink some of them to his new sports agency firm.
A major power merger took place on Tuesday when two of the biggest names in entertainment announced they were joining forces with one of the biggest names in sports. Jay-Z announced that he’s getting in the sports-agent business through his Roc Nation Sports, and not only did he ink an unprecedented deal with leading sports and entertainment agency CAA, he stole Yankees star Robinson Cano from the most powerful agent in baseball, Scott Boras, who also represents Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Braun, Ryan Howard and others. And he’s not likely to stop there: Jay-Z has been temporarily licensed to represent professional baseball players; over time it’s likely he will take on football and basketball too. (While it may seem that branching out into basketball would conflict with his ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets, according to Forbes, that stake has dropped to one-fifteenth of one percent.)
Cano is a four-time all-star who has spent his entire career with the New York Yankees and is in the final year of a $57 million contract, according to ESPN, and will be co-managed by the two companies. For their part, CAA Sports manages more than 800 athletes across a broadspectrum of sports, while Roc Nation is the home to Rihanna, J. Cole, Rita Ora, Shakira, Timbaland, Solange, M.I.A., Deadmau5, Meek Mill, and more. Roc Nation Sports will be co-headed by Jay-Z and Roc Nation president Juan Perez.
Reps for Jay-Z, Roc Nation and CAA declined to comment on the announcement beyond a series of prepared statements. In his, Jay said: “Because of my love of sports, it was a natural progression to form a company where we can help top athletes... the same way we have been helping artists in the music industry for years."
"Jay Z and his team at Roc Nation have successfully orchestrated powerful brand and business-building opportunities for their clients,” said Michael Levine, Co-Head of CAA Sports, in a statement. “We look forward to combining our wide-reaching resources on behalf of top athlete clients like Robinson Cano to help them accomplish their goals on and off the field."
And while the news certainly was exciting for both sports and hip-hop enthusiasts, this unprecedented deal opened up a lot more questions than it answered.
“I don’t know how big of a deal it is right away,” says Keith Reed, senior editor at ESPN the Magazine, who specializes in sports and business management. “I think it’s fair to say that entrepreneurs have their first acts... and if they’re really successful and transformative, then they get a second act. A great example of that would be [BET founder] Robert Johnson. Here’s a guy who started a television network, ran it, built it, took it public, took it back private and made a billion dollars. And then he started his second act. [He’s the former majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats.] When I look at Jay-Z beginning his second act, I have to ask the question, ‘Is this a guy who’s second act is going to be all about building the kind of clout, the kind of influence in sports that he already has in entertainment?’”