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UTA Launches Sports Division With LeBron James’ Agent

Cynthia Littleton

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UTA is diving into the sports arena through an investment in Klutch Sports Group, the agency that represents LeBron James and other stars.

Klutch Sports founder Rich Paul will serve as head of the newly created UTA Sports wing in addition to running his own banner. Paul launched Klutch Sports in 2012 in Cleveland. UTA aims to represent athletes in sports dealmaking and other endeavors.

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“Rich has built Klutch with the vision, values and entrepreneurial spirit that UTA cherishes,” said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer. “By focusing on growing clients’ businesses and putting their interests first, Klutch is built for the modern athlete who wants to thrive at the intersection of sports, media, music, art and culture. We are thrilled to work with Rich and his team to build Klutch and UTA Sports into a global powerhouse.”

Paul said he feels UTA is the “perfect partner” for the next iteration of Klutch. His roster also includes NBA stars Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Ben Simmons and John Wall. UTA did not disclose financial details of the deal but said it was a “significant” investment in Klutch.

“We started Klutch because we believed there was a different way to represent players,” said Paul. We understood the world was changing and how athletes required an entirely new perspective from their agents. When I met with Jeremy and the UTA team, it was clear to me they were the perfect partner for Klutch’s next phase of growth. They understand and share our view on the future of sports and recognize how there is an entirely new way to represent elite athletes. The innovation, resources and talent at UTA is going to supercharge everything we can do and together, UTA and Klutch, will build a transformative global sports business.”

The deal marks UTA’s first major foray into the world of sports. To date, the agency has represented a handful of prominent athletes — including NFL star Rob Gronkowski — but only for non-sports activities. In launching UTA Sports, the agency is following in the footsteps of CAA and Endeavor’s WME and IMG in repping athletes in sports as well as helping them branch out into film, TV, production, endorsements and many other businesses.

Skadden Arps’ David Eisman and Allison Hunter served as UTA’s legal advisors on the deal. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher advised Klutch Sports Group.

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