Shaun White has officially changed management agencies. After an eight-year relationship with IMG agent Mark Ervin, White will now be represented by CAA, according to the Sports Business Journal. White and CAA hope the new partnership will generate more media exposure in the entertainment industry, including movies, music, television appearances, and marketing opportunities. IMG’s Senior VP of Corporate Communications Jim Gallagher confirmed the departure and stated, “We’re very proud of the work we did for Shaun and wish him continued success in the future.” A conflicting report from ESPN states that no deal has been signed yet with CAA.
White is the most recognizable action sports athlete in the U.S. His Davie-Brown Index score (72.41) outranks fellow action stars Tony Hawk, Ryan Sheckler and Bam Margera. His awareness level, a 73.94, is comparable to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
White reportedly earns more than $7.5 million a year in endorsements and prize money. While at IMG, he and Ervin built a healthy portfolio of blue-chip sponsors that includes Burton, Red Bull, Target, Oakley and video game maker Ubisoft. The deals with Burton, Target and Oakley all include a signature line designed by White.
IMG will continue to receive commissions in the future on those deals and others it cut for White.
Under Ervin, White transcended action sports and became a crossover star, appearing on the cover of Men’s Journal and Fast Company and joining the rotation of celebrities featured in American Express’ “My Card” campaign. The two began their partnership eight years ago after White left Steve Astephen, now the head of WMG’s action sports division.
White, a snowboarding prodigy who signed his first sponsorship as a 7-year-old, gained mainstream awareness by winning a gold medal at the 2006 Olympics with a last-to-first finish in halfpipe that was followed by a memorable, tear-filled celebration with his mom and dad. Afterward, he appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and “The Tonight Show.”
White’s career is far from over. He is expected to compete in a third Olympics in Sochi in 2014. He also plans to continue skateboarding and already has committed to this summer’s Dew Tour Skate Open, June 25-26, in Boston.