Sports agents have a bad reputation. Often referred to as Mr 10%, because of the money they make from large deals, the only time we ever hear about them is when they are supposedly convincing young footballers that £90k a week isn’t quite enough money for them to survive on.
However, there’s so much more to it than what we read about in the papers. What about all those sports agents and talent managers who nurture talent, enhance reputations and give athletes opportunities that they wouldn’t have otherwise experienced? No one ever talks about the good guys. That could be you!
What do sports agents do?
Essentially, a sports agent’s job is all about marketing and raising the profile of the athletes that constitute their client list. When they’re not doing that, they’re securing sponsorship deals for their clients and acting as an intermediary between the athletes and sports brands. They’re also in charge of helping their athletes to seal the deal on new contracts and act as the negotiator when it comes to discussing transfer fees and salaries.
It’s no easy task, but if you are loopy for sports and commercially savvy, with bags of enthusiasm, it could definitely be for you. You could be the next Pini Zahavi or Jerry Maguire!
Let’s start with the fun part: the benefits! If you’re working as a sports talent manager, you’ll definitely get your fair share of tickets to sporting events. It’s part of the job after all. A lot of the job will involve keeping your ears to the ground and your eyes open. This means you’ll probably spend a lot of your time at sporting events, not only keeping an eye on your current client, but scouting for others.
You’ll be speaking to clients, other agents and your managers all day long. Consequently, you’ll need to be a tremendous communicator and both your written and verbal communication skills will have to be second to none.
It’s more than likely that you’d start off working for a sports agency and build up your contacts and experience before thinking about setting up your own business. Some employers will be looking for candidates with a business or sports-related degree, but this is by no means a necessity.
The most important thing is that you know your stuff, so it’s best to try gaining some work experience (or look here for graduate work experience) and attempt to make contacts in the industry from an early age.
What does it take to be a sports agent?
Sports agents and talent managers have similar roles to the agents that look after actors and celebrities. They’re the clever people that liaise with team owners, chairmen, sports brand companies, managers and the athletes themselves in order to strike deals and negotiate salaries, transfer fees, contract lengths and sponsorship deals.
Professional competitors from every sport need sports agents to help them secure the deals which will allow them to become as financially comfortable as possible, and help them to continue competing for years and years. Obviously, the big money sports, such as football, golf, rugby and tennis, generate the most commission for sports agents in the UK.
You’ll be networking like crazy and constantly keeping up to date with any changes, eventualities and trends that may benefit your client or have negative implications on their careers. For instance, you could be liaising with the representatives of different brands that your athlete could endorse.
You will have power in your hands and a lot of pressure on your back. You will have a massive influence on the salaries, career prospects and injury insurance policies that your clients receive.
You’ll need to have an expert grasp of legal concepts and financial analysis to thrive in this industry. After all, it’s not just about going to sports games, patting your clients on the back and screaming “show me the money” down the phone. You will have to be dependable, trustworthy and know everything and everyone there is to know in the sports industry.
Reckon you might fit the bill for this? Think you could be on the ball and find and represent the next 17-year-old sports superstar like Wayne Rooney or Michael Owen? Then this might be the right career path for you!