When you’ve represented the likes of Shark Tank’s Daymond John, SiriusXM’s Sway Calloway, Fonzworth Bentley, Grammy Award Winner Fantasia Barrino, and V-103’s Big Tigger, it’s safe to bet that you can successfully wade through the waters of the entertainment industry. Understanding the wave of that industry, Cicero Leak has decided to throw his oars into the sports sea with the announcement of TLS Sports, a division under TLS Talent Agency.
Leak speaks to BLACK ENTERPRISE about his decision to take on the sports world with a focus on athletes that attend HBCUs and how the coronavirus has impacted his company.
You’ve recently launched a sports division at TLS Talent Agency. What prompted you to make that move and what are your immediate plans?
We launched sports division TLS Sports to focus on helping athletes that attend historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) get their shot at becoming professional athletes. So many athletes that attend these schools are overlooked and we want to level the playing field. The launch of TLS Sports will also help provide those who attend HBCUs an opportunity to get into the business as well, helping further the next generation.
Outside of the obvious that the company will be sports-related, how will it differ from the talent side of TLS?
The new division will operate separately from the rest of the agency and will be under the leadership of our Managing Director Chuck Stinson (graduate of Morehouse College). Our goal is to approach the sports agency business in a different way because the athletes can relate to us in a different way. Our services will include negotiating contracts and endorsement deals for our clients.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the way you currently do business and how do you predict you will operate going forward?
We have been working the phones more than ever since the pandemic hit. But it has leveled the playing feel a bit for us that have to compete with the big agencies. We all have to communicate the same way right now so we can be more effective when we are making things happen for our clients. Not being located in one of the major cities like L.A., New York, or Atlanta hasn’t stopped us from getting things done during this time.
You’ve been doing this for several years now, how has your approach to doing business changed from when you first launched?
The biggest change in how we do business now is taking advantage of the relationships we have. It took us years to grow and build those strong relationships. When starting out sometimes you can be too timid because you are so afraid of failing but eventually, you have to get over those fears and make things happen. So now our approach is more aggressive and really going after the right opportunities for our clients.
What do you advise to people who are curious about entering this industry and what would you suggest that they do in order to have longevity in the game?
My advice to those wanting to get into the entertainment or sports representation business is to first do your research and make sure this is something you actually want to do. Then you have to know you are not going to be successful overnight, it will take a lot of long hours and years to grow in this business. You have people that you represent that depend on you to do what you say you are going to do so following through with those promises is important. The key is to never give up and stay consistent to have longevity in the game.