AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Owner Tom Gores announced today that renowned sports agent Arn Tellem has agreed to join Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E), as Vice Chairman. Mr. Tellem is expected to join the organization on August 3 after transitioning his current responsibilities as Vice Chairman of Wasserman Media Group.
“Arn is one of the most accomplished and respected sports executives in the world,” Mr. Gores said. “He has great passion, integrity and honesty, and he shares my belief that sports can be a catalyst for change in the community. He is an outstanding addition to our leadership team who will help us make a real difference in Detroit.”
“Given his experience and all of his success, Arn could have gone just about anywhere and he chose Detroit,” Mr. Gores added. “His excitement and enthusiasm about coming here says a lot about this community, about the Pistons tradition, and about the potential of the franchise. This is a big win for Detroit.”
Mr. Tellem will report to Mr. Gores, and as a representative of ownership will have broad responsibility for business strategy, public affairs, planning and development, and strengthening the connection between PS&E and the community. With respect to the Detroit Pistons, Mr. Tellem will be responsible for business operations and league-related initiatives as one of the team’s Alternate Governors on the NBA Board of Governors. The basketball operations organization headed by President Stan Van Gundy will continue to report to Mr. Gores.
Mr. Tellem said that joining PS&E and the Pistons – and shifting from being a representative of players to a representative of ownership – is a capstone of his long career in the sports business, which includes more than three decades as a player agent.
“The decision to change careers was in one sense a difficult one, because I am leaving a terrific job with great clients and an outstanding leader in Casey Wasserman, who I believe runs the finest sports marketing and talent company in the business,” Mr. Tellem said.
“But in another sense it was an easy decision, because I am joining another great organization with an outstanding leader in Tom Gores, who is committed to ensuring Palace Sports & Entertainment is a championship organization both on the court and in the community,” he said. “I am thrilled to take on this new challenge as part of the team in Detroit.”
Mr. Van Gundy said: “Arn brings a unique perspective that will make our entire organization stronger. His responsibilities may be focused on the business side, but we won’t be shy about taking full advantage of his knowledge on the basketball side as well.”
Dennis Mannion, President and CEO of PS&E, said: “Arn’s experience and expertise will complement an organizational structure that has been built as one of sports and entertainment’s most innovative management models. I’ve known Arn for years, and have deep respect for his knowledge of both industries. I am really looking forward to working with him.”
A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Mr. Tellem will relocate to Detroit. He said the opportunity to contribute to the region’s revitalization was a key factor in his decision to join PS&E.
“I’m energized by the potential in Detroit and throughout the region – in commerce, the arts and on the basketball courts and playing fields. I hope to make a constructive impact on the Motor City and contribute to the turnaround that is underway,” he said. “It has been a privilege spending so much of my life helping guide the careers of professional athletes, but making a difference to a community gives you a deeper sense of purpose. At this stage of my own career, I’m ready and excited to embrace that challenge.”
Mr. Tellem expects to take a hands-on role in PS&E’s external affairs and business development, including PS&E’s charitable endeavors. He is a long-time board member of PeacePlayers International and Seeds of Peace, organizations that bring together children from conflict regions to promote tolerance and understanding. Using basketball to bridge barriers, PeacePlayers International operates year-round programs in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Israel and the West Bank.
Mr. Tellem has represented more than 500 professional athletes in his career, including numerous former Detroit Pistons. He joins PS&E following nine years at Wasserman Media Group, where he served as Vice Chairman and oversaw the Team Sports Division. In 1989, he founded Los Angeles-based Tellem & Associates which was acquired in 1999 by SFX Entertainment, the world’s largest producer and marketer of live entertainment. Mr. Tellem served as Chief Executive Officer of SFX Sports until he joined Wasserman.
Mr. Tellem began representing professional baseball and basketball in the early 1980’s. Before that, he was a partner at the law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, where he specialized in sports law and commercial litigation. Mr. Tellem also served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers between 1982 and 1988.
A member of the American Bar Association and the State Bar of California, Mr. Tellem served as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California School of Law and is frequently invited to lecture on issues related to sports law and business. He received his bachelor’s degree from Haverford College in 1976 and his J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1979.
Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons basketball franchise are part of an investment portfolio owned by Platinum Equity and its founder, Chairman and CEO Tom Gores. Platinum Equity is a global investment firm with more than $6 billion of assets under management and a portfolio of more than 30 operating companies that serve customers around the world. In 2014, Platinum Equity portfolio companies generated more than $17 billion in revenue.