October 20, 2017 – The Fall 2017 St. John’s Law Alumni Magazine features a cover story on SJU alums working in the sports and entertainment industry, and includes comments from Jeff Fannell. You can read the full article here.
August 16, 2016 – Jeff Fannell & Associates is pleased to announce that it has signed University of Maryland Assistant Soccer Coach, Scott Buete as a client. JFA will represent Scott in all areas of contract negotiation, marketing, and endorsements. “We are excited for the opportunity to represent Scott,” said JFA senior associate Kap Misir. “Among the nation’s collegiate soccer coaches, we believe Scott is a rising star.” Scott is in his third year as the assistant coach for the Maryland Terrapins, which is widely regarded as one of the top Division-1 soccer programs in the country. In 2014, the Terps advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament; last year, they advanced to the Elite Eight. They enter this year ranked No. 4 in the pre-season coaches’ poll and are expected to be in the running to capture the NCAA national title. A graduate of the University, Scott played five years for the Terps (1999-2003), the last three serving as team captain. In 2002, Scott led Maryland to the ACC Tournament title. In his senior year, he was named NSCAA First Team All-American, and was selected to the All-ACC First Team and the ACC All-Tournament Team. Scott finished […]
Athlete drug testing continues to make headlines. In recent weeks several Major League players were suspended by MLB for testing positive for PEDs. More recently, PGA golfers who have qualified for the 2016 Olympic golf field became subject to the more rigorous Olympic drug testing program. Included in the Olympic testing regime is a “whereabouts requirement,” under which golfers must provide a one-hour time slot between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. when they will be available for testing on days when they’re not in competition. This is a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) requirement faced by all elite athletes who are in the registered testing pool of their respective international sports federations. For many non-athletes the idea of having to provide your whereabouts on a daily basis, with a specified hour to take a drug test (or to do most anything, for that matter) is an imposition on personal freedom beyond debate. Yet the supposed desire for genuine competition among fans and citizens, who themselves are nipping-and-tucking and crafting artificial personas on social media, justifies the intrusion. After all, we’re talking about athletes, many of whom get paid big money, so anything goes, right? It’s such blasé thinking that no doubt […]
April 15 is officially Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball. A day in which the game honors the man who broke baseball’s color line in 1947. A day in which every player, manager, coach and umpire wearing a uniform, dons Jackie’s number 42 in celebration and remembrance of the tremendous contributions Jackie made to the game of baseball and to American society. It is also a time when many will reflect on the lack of African-Americans playing the game at various levels. You have probably read the statistics: roughly 20 percent of Major Leaguers in 1981 were African-American; as of last year, there were fewer than 8 percent. The reasons for the decline have been discussed and analyzed from various angles. Whether it’s the lack of full scholarships to play at the college level, the relatively high financial cost it takes to play the game, or the fact that many minority youngsters view the game as boring (especially compared to basketball and football), we’ve been there, done that. Now what? Well, the good news is there are fresh faces in baseball’s leadership ranks – MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, and MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark both recently ascended to their […]
Brother’s been busy and had been planning to get with you in a minute, but this Cam Newton thing has compelled me to the keyboard. Cam spoke out the other day about being an African-American quarterback who “scares” some people and that he receives some of the criticism because he’s black. On cue, scores of people became uncomfortable, defensive and downright silly, as is often the case when the subject turns to race. Why are you bringing up race? This is about football! This is about the N-F-L!! Well, I’m with Cornell West on this one – race matters. Always has, always will. How it matters may differ, but it always matters, and we should be mature enough at this point to be able to have an intelligent discussion about what remains a sensitive topic for many, particularly in the sports world. Instead, as it relates to Cam, we hear: He dances too much. The theory is Cam gets criticized not because he’s African-American, but because he celebrates too much. He claims he’s all about the team, the argument goes, but he just brings attention to himself. Really? I’m old enough to remember Mark Gastineau of the New York Jets, […]
Photo credit: Jason Miller via Getty Images There are a lot of LeBron James haters out there. As independent-thinking people, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. To be sure, there are some who have never gotten over “The Decision.” When LeBron left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent and “took his talents” to South Beach, there were millions of people who vilified him and have never forgiven him for it. Who can forget the footage of the irate fans in the streets of Cleveland burning LeBron’s jersey? Or Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert’s ill-conceived letter in which he called LeBron “our former hero” who “cowardly betrayed” Cavs fans. Gilbert blasted LeBron’s decision as “heartless” and “callous” and told Cleveland fans that they could “take it to the bank” that the Cavs would win a championship before LeBron would. (Whoever took Gilbert up on this promise found the bank not only closed, but out of business!). Of course, now is all forgiven in Cleveland because LeBron returned home last year and promptly led the woebegone Cavs to the NBA Finals. LeBron, indeed, is a lightning rod for many. Although I am not a Cavs fan, I am a […]
This past Friday (July 24, 2015) Jeff Fannell, Founder and President of Fannell & Associates talked to a packed room of eager, emerging sports business leaders at Fordham University. Watch here for a quick recap of an awesome session: Fannell at Inspiring Young Leaders at National Student Leadership Conference
The issue of player discipline has been one of the hottest topics in professional sports over the past several months. Recent conversations have focused on Ray Rice and the physical assault against his then-fiancée, now-wife in an Atlantic City elevator, Adrian Peterson’s child abuse charges, domestic violence charges (separate incidents involving Greg Hardy, Brittney Griner and Hope Solo, to name a few), Josh Hamilton’s drug relapse and Tom Brady’s deflated footballs. Through it all there has been ample discussion on how the system of disciplining players should operate. Recently, the Sports Business Journal asked four noted sports lawyers to weigh in on a number of issues regarding player discipline. Perhaps the most intelligent comment in an article filled with thoughtful responses, came from David Cornwell, a partner at Barnes & Thornburg. In response to the question, “What does the future hold for player discipline?” Cornwell said: “We are seeing a cultural shift take place before our eyes and we do not know it or we are ignoring it. A dirty little secret is that the growing significance of youth and amateur sports in our culture has reached the point where there is too often an inverse relationship between […]
(Photo credit: NY Times) Whether you’re a boxing aficionado, or even just a casual fan of the sport, after last week’s huge showing you have to admit, boxing is rearing its head as a returning powerhouse- at least when it comes to the business of sports. Check out this in-depth article on Al Haymon and his plan to return boxing to the mainstream.
Tom O’Connell is Founder and President of O’Connell Sports Management, located in Tampa, FL. Tom has represented professional baseball players since 1997. Recently, we caught up with Tom to get his insights on his career in the agent business. Q. Tom, you’ve been a certified baseball agent for over 15 years, what have been the biggest changes you’ve seen in the agent business over the last decade? A. I would say the two biggest changes in the industry are the increased role sabermetrics play in assisting agents in negotiating and valuing players, and the evolution of social media, which has dramatically changed the interaction with reporters. Agents now tend to be more guarded with reporters, especially in regards to ongoing and future negotiations. Q. Over the course of your career you have operated primarily as a solo agent. Given how the player representation business has become increasingly dominated by larger agencies like CAA, Relativity, Octagon and others, how have you been able to compete in the player market? A. I learned early on that honesty and integrity go a long way into building a solid brand. I have always prided myself on being direct and frank in dealing with […]