Douglas Elliman launched a sports and entertainment division in 2015 to have a dedicated line to the athletes and stars willing to pay top dollar for pricey homes. To head the effort, the brokerage tapped Darren Weiner, whom Bloomberg once dubbed “the Jerry Maguire of real estate.” The hope, one shared by rivals such as One Sotheby’s International Realty, Compass and Cushman & Wakefield, was that word would spread among the glitterati that there were brokers out there trained to cater to their specific and sometimes outlandish needs.
But Weiner left Elliman last year, and since then, there has been no established face leading the effort. Over the last few months, sources said, Gordon von Broock’s team has stepped into the void in Manhattan, though top brass at the firm deny that he’s calling the shots.
On Jan. 30, Elliman plans to relaunch the division. One of the goals of the relaunch, according to Jay Parker, the CEO of Douglas Elliman Florida? “Identifying that the division exists.”
According to Parker, the division took a backseat to other initiatives at the firm, such as the in-house magazine. The firm spent heavily on marketing efforts spearheaded by former chief marketing officer Nicole Oge, but has since pulled back on some of those efforts.
“It just took a lot of time,” Parker said of the division. “It became not our top priority. We’ve been really busy.”
Elliman will create a network for the revived division, with designated brokers tackling celebrity leads. According to Parker, they will also hire consultants from sports management agencies and professional sports leagues such as the NFL and the NBA.
The division will have 15 agents in New York City and 20 in Florida. Parker declined to name the agents in the division’s New York City offshoot.
When asked about von Broock’s position, Parker said that he is just one of several agents involved in the division and isn’t leading the effort. No one is officially in charge, Parker said, though he described himself as the “de facto” head of the group.
“We work hand-in-hand with our agents,” he said. Von Broock, who moved to Elliman from the Corcoran Group, has worked with the likes of DJ Tiesto and “The Brady Bunch” star Eve Plumb. He couldn’t be reached for comment.
The relaunch will include a luncheon at Elliman’s 575 Madison Avenue office, with its celebrity brokers from New York and Florida getting a pep talk from a yet-unnamed inspirational speaker. Later in the day, the firm will also host an event at its box at Madison Square Garden during the New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets game.
In 2016, Compass, which competes with Elliman in several markets including New York, L.A., and Miami, launched a sports and entertainment division headed by Kofi Nartey.