Marquee Group, an International Management Team That Matches Agents, Promoters and Marketers, May Be the Look of Sports To Come
From the Print Edition:
Ernest Hemingway, Jul/Aug 99
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Louis Oppenheim and Arthur Kaminsky are also cofounders of the Marquee Group, having joined in December 1996 when their company, Athletes and Artists, was acquired by Marquee. Since its inception in 1977, Athletes and Artists has been one of the leading sports and news representation-and-marketing firms in the country. It has represented athletes and hundreds of national and regional sports and news broadcasters, including Jim Lampley, Forest Sawyer, Dick Schaap and Len Berman.
Oppenheim, 41, negotiated his first contract, representing Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, in 1981. Jenkins was then a fading 17-year veteran coming off his worst season, but Oppenheim got him a one-year deal for his return to the Cubs for $300,000 in 1982 and an extension for 1983 which, including unique incentive bonuses for cumulative innings pitched, turned out to be the most money Jenkins had ever earned in his career.
The group of newscasters and broadcasters Oppenheim attracted to Athletes and Artists included ESPN's Chris Berman and Tom Jackson, CNN's Fred Hickman and MSG's Al Trautwig.
A graduate of Cornell University, Kaminsky began his career representing fellow alumnus and eventual National Hockey League Hall of Famer Ken Dryden of the Montreal Canadiens. His early success with Dryden brought through the doors of Athletes and Artists more than 100 NHL players, including greats such as Larry Robinson, Clark Gillies, Billy Smith, Brian Leetch and Adam Oates. His success with hockey players led Kaminsky to represent the 1980 U.S. Olympic gold-medal hockey team and its head coach, Herb Brooks. Eric Heiden, the only person to win five individual gold medals at a single Olympics, has been his client since 1979, along with dozens of other Olympic skating medalists.
The clients that Kaminsky and the others have brought to the Marquee Group have put the sports and entertainment company on the fast track, and they don't plan on slowing now.
"The fact is that everything in the sports, entertainment and news industries is consolidating," Gutkowski says, enjoying his La Flor Dominica torpedo. "That means we will look at anything. We intend to grow by acquisition and we have already demonstrated that we have international ambitions. We will look right across the board for opportunities and won't rule anything out right now and are looking to acquire companies which have strong management. That will add to the stock value."
The smoke from his cigar rises toward the ceiling. The fortunes of the Marquee Group seem ready to do the same.
Ken Shouler is the project editor of Home Run: My Life in Pictures by Hank Aaron and Dick Schaap (Total Sports, New York).
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