Maro Itoje has become the latest rugby athlete to sign for Roc Nation Sports, musician Jay-Z’s sports management company.
Last year the company made waves in the sport, with news that it was signing Springboks World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi and now Itoje has jumped ship.
— Maro Itoje (@maroitoje) November 23, 2020
Roc Nation Sports describe Itoje as: “An articulate, studious, individual, Maro completed a Politics degree during the early stages of his rugby career from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He is currently studying for his Masters Degree and has a vested interest in social justice, equality and inclusivity” on their website.
Itoje had been managed by Stellar Group agency in the UK.
The Saracens lock was on a reputed salary of £800,000 a year at Saracens prior to the pandemic, but his image rights were the subject of widespread press reporting following the club’s salary cap scandal.
None of Saracens’ players are at fault for the salary cap transgressions but, in the report of the last three seasons’ breaches, evidence was presented showing that Itoje had been paid £1.6million for a 30 per cent share of his image rights. An alternative valuation commissioned by Premier Rugby Limited estimated that Itoje was overpaid by £800,000 and this amount was thus deemed to be salary.
Since signing his first professional contract eight years ago, Itoje has made a dramatic rise from the Saracens academy to the international stage. His meteoric climb began in 2014, making his senior debut against Cardiff Blues before captaining England Under-20s to the Junior World Championship.
The 2016 European Player of the Year skippered the Men in Black to the LV= Cup title the following season aged 20 and has since helped Mark McCall’s side win back-to-back Champions Cups and three Premiership gongs, and has arguably become England’s MVP.
Tipped to captain the British and Irish Lions in 2021, his performances have led him to be regarded as one of the best locks in world rugby.
It’s another move into rugby union for the agency, with the US-based company boasting the financial muscle to establish themselves as a global agency within the sport should they wish to.
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