Ira’s sports management career began in 1990 when he tutored under famed sports agent Ron Shapiro. There he established a relationship with baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr. for whom he managed his marketing, business development, and legal matters as President and General Counsel for the Tufton Group. Creating and managing the first joint licensing partnership with MLB and MLBPA for his retirement tour, he pioneered Milestone Marketing, a model for Ripken’s “2131” Consecutive Games record, later used by other athletes commemorating achievements (NY TIMES 1997).
As President of Ripken and Aberdeen Professional Baseball, Ira spearheaded the development of the Ripken Baseball Complex in Maryland, a $38M facility that includes a 6,500 seat minor league baseball stadium and youth baseball fields. Working with a challenging public-private financing structure to build the Complex and the acquisition and relocation of the minor league baseball team, he later established the Cal Ripken World Series with Fox Sports.
With the premiere Lacrosse sports practice in the country, he developed players and advises players like Paul Rabil, which the NY Times described as the LeBron James of the game. Represents Tewaaraton Award winners Max Seibald, Rob Pannell and the only three time award winner Taylor Cummings who Ira recently negotiated a multi-year deal with Under Armour. Represented Loyola College Coach Diane Gepps Akens, who battled d brain cancer, had her life commemorated and was thanked in the book Lucky Every Day.
More than a deal maker, Ira created a brand image, PR and marketing campaign for All-Pro Linebacker, Ray Lewis. They co-founded Team 52 Development, a sports real estate and development firm and became equity partners of Gateway South, a $250M office and sports complex adjacent to the Camden Yards Sports Complex, home to Oriole Park and Ravens Stadium, and were later acquired by the City of Baltimore.
Ira has been certified with MLBPA, NFLPA, and PLPA and negotiated a $4.2M signing bonus for Gavin Floyd, at that time the largest MLB signing bonus ever for a HS pitcher. He has negotiated over 100 Million Dollars in sports contracts. He has worked with a long list of corporate partners such as Under Armour, Nike, Red Bull, Chevrolet, EASports, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Oakley, Vitamin Water, Wheaties and New Balance.
Legal Counsel for Shogun Fights, this MMA fight promotion company was instrumental in getting MMA legalized in the state of Maryland and has the exclusive rights to shows at the Baltimore Arena.
In addition to sports industry clients, Ira has provided counsel to R&B star MARIO. As consultant to actor John Leguizamo with his agent role in the movie “The Fan” starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes, Ira was personally named in the movie. He also managed Jason Alexander’s public relations when he was married to Brittany Spears for 55 hours.
Recruited as an expert in his field, Ira has appeared on CNN, HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, ESPN's Outside the Lines and SportsCenter and has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Sports Business Journal, Sporting News and USA Today. He was also named to the prestigious 40 under 40 by the Baltimore Business Journal and was a national nominee to the SBJournal.
A Member of the Maryland Bar, Ira is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Business and Management and the University of Baltimore School of Law. He serves on the Board of the Sports Law Institute and is an Adjunct Professor teaching How to Represent the Professional Athlete.