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Tampa sports agency acquired by entertainment powerhouse Wasserman

Jet Sports Management joins the baseball division of the mega-agency that reps Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran and Lorde.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Corey Kluber, shown  during a game against the Baltimore Orioles on July 17 at Tropicana Field, is a client of Jet Sports Management, based in Tampa. The agency on Friday was acquired by Los Angeles sports and entertainment powerhouse Wasserman, whose clients include Billie Eilish and Ed Sheeran.
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Corey Kluber, shown during a game against the Baltimore Orioles on July 17 at Tropicana Field, is a client of Jet Sports Management, based in Tampa. The agency on Friday was acquired by Los Angeles sports and entertainment powerhouse Wasserman, whose clients include Billie Eilish and Ed Sheeran. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Jul. 23|Updated Jul. 23

One of the biggest sports and entertainment agencies in the country has snapped up a baseball-focused agency based in Tampa.

Jet Sports Management, whose clients include Byron Buxton, Matt Olson, Chris Sale, Chipper Jones and the Rays’ Corey Kluber and Mike Zunino, has been acquired by Wasserman, a sports and entertainment powerhouse based in Los Angeles.

Wasserman and Jet founder B.B. Abbott declined to disclose terms of the deal.

Abbott said he’s had many offers to sell since founding his firm 23 years ago, including several from Wasserman. Now just felt like the right time, he said.

“They’ve been after me for years,” Abbott said. “I’ve been building this thing for 20-something years, and it’s hard to get my arms around it, but they’re just such a good group of guys, getting to know them over the years. It’s just a really good match.”

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Abbott, a graduate of the Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport and former attorney at Tampa’s Foley and Lardner, will become Wasserman’s executive vice president and managing executive for baseball. Six agents and two more staff members will also make the move to Wasserman.

“B.B. has run one of the most successful and well-respected baseball representation businesses for over two decades in a highly competitive space,” Wasserman chief operating officer and executive vice president of talent Jason Ranne said in a statement. “Their approach to representation matches Wasserman’s client-first approach, and our combined deep industry relationships will benefit both our agents and clients in all aspects.”

Wasserman’s baseball client list includes Giancarlo Stanton, Nolan Arenado, Aaron Boone and the Rays’ Tyler Glasnow and Manuel Margot. Other Wasserman athletes include the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, NHL stars Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid and golfers Tom Watson and British Open champion Cameron Smith.

But the firm is best known for its global music division, where clients include Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and Lorde.

Being under the same umbrella as some of the world’s most famous celebrities will only help Jet’s clients during and after their careers, Abbott said. Buxton, for example, had a moment in the national spotlight this week after homering in Tuesday’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and “this news coming on top of that could potentially be big for him,” Abbott said.

“These younger guys have interest outside of the game, and that’s something where Wasserman opens a lot of doors for us,” he said. “The resources it provides our clients and potentially new clients is tremendous.”

Other Jet clients include Charlie Morton, Zack Wheeler, Gavin Lux, Logan Gilbert and Brian McCann.

Abbott said he and his staff, which is split between the Tampa Bay area and other cities across the Southeast, are not planning to relocate as part of the deal.

“I hope to never leave Tampa Bay,” he said.

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