Competitiveness, passion, and drive are three key attributes for successful athletes, but they also make Jessica Holtz (MBA ’12) one of the most notable sports agents in the game. In July 2022, Holtz—an agent with California-based firm Creative Artists Agency (CAA)—made history as the first woman to negotiate two NBA supermax contracts—elite among the league’s contract extension structure—all in the span of one day. Her clients, Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves, both agreed to four-year, $224 million extensions with their respective teams.
Though the feat may have surprised some, it lines up with Holtz’s history. A lifelong sports fan, she began her career in marketing for the NBA and soon discovered that being an agent was “something you didn’t just see in movies,” she laughs.
When Holtz joined CAA, she specialized in off-court deals, such as endorsements and sponsorships. She eventually began to oversee contract negotiations and says she views herself as her clients’ foremost advocate—as well as “somebody who helps dreams and visions come to life.”
Despite all her recent success, punctuated by those groundbreaking deals in July, she remains grounded. “Knowing that those guys believed in me as somebody who was able to handle something so important and critical to their careers was such an honor,” Holtz says. “That was what I really focused on in that moment.”
Yet Holtz also understands the significance of her accomplishment as one of the few women in her profession. Outside of helping her clients achieve their dreams, Holtz says she’s most proud of hearing from women who hope to follow in her footsteps. “I hope they learn that even if we haven’t necessarily seen a woman do something before, we should keep fighting and trying,” she explains.
Holtz hopes that she can continue to break new barriers, particularly with her latest client, Elena Delle Donne, two-time WNBA MVP. Holtz plans on working with Delle Donne to advocate for women in sports, as both athletes and behind-the-scenes administrators and agents.
Ultimately, Holtz says that working with professional athletes has rubbed off on her, and she views her job in sports terms. “I’m going to win for my clients at all costs,” she says.