Nice catch: Gersh gets into baseball


The Gersh Agency is aiming for the fences by launching a baseball division. As part of the move, Gersh Sports has hired Paragon Sports Management's Joseph Longo and Matt Walker as division head/sports rep and vp business development, respectively.

Longo and Walker bring a roster of talent that includes Major League Baseball players David Dellucci, Luis Ayala and Brett Tomko as well as retired stars Matt Williams and Lenny Dykstra. Walker also adds fighting champion Randy "The Natural" Couture of the UFC to Gersh Sports' client list.

"We love these guys who we're getting into business with," said agency co-president Bob Gersh, a lifelong Dodgers fan. "We think with the way the entertainment business is moving, athletes really have a desire to cross over and work in TV and film."

Longo repped baseball players for 12 years until Michael Ovitz hired him to run AMG's baseball division. Three years later, when the Firm acquired AMG, Longo left to launch Paragon Sports Management.

Walker, a former UCLA football and baseball player, began his career handling baseball players at AMG before joining Longo to launch Paragon, where he focused on athlete representation, marketing, sponsorship and consulting. He also has two TV shows in development.

Gersh COO and CFO Hugh Dodson said: "In holding true to our company's nearly 60-year philosophy of personalized service, we have avoided acquiring big chunks of other agencies to prevent getting too big too fast. Instead, as we have done with our sports department, we have chosen well-paced growth, and we are pleased to launch our baseball division with Joe and Matt, both the type of personal-service representative who fits into our culture and with whom we can truly nurture a business."

Gersh joins CAA as the only Hollywood talent agencies with major baseball divisions. Gersh Sports also boasts a fledgling football division. Toi Cook, Gersh Sports senior vp business development, will work as chief liaison for its new baseball clients and football clients helping to acquire off-the-field, crossover opportunities for them.

In addition to the agency's sports moves, Steve Rossmann has been hired as the marketing strategies and new-media agent for the newly created Gersh Marketing Group and Elita Bray for the newly created role of director of player public relations and marketing.