When we hear about the sports industry on TV or in the news we often imagine it to be a thriving, glamorous field where athletes become stars overnight because of one great performance.
We see them enjoying the pleasures of nationwide, and sometimes worldwide, attention.
However, rarely do we try to imagine the struggles they and their agents went through to get where they are in their careers. We gloss over the millions of beginner athletes who have great talent, work hard and never make it to the pro’s.
Just think about that for a second, every Div. 1 college athlete was a star in high school, admired by their fans and community, but in college they’ll probably be just another player unable to crack the professional level.
It is rare to make a career out of playing sports.
But the athletes on the field aren’t the only game in town. They are not the only people who work in the sports industry; there are various other positions regarding different aspects of the entire spectrum of a sport from management to media, and all these aspects require professionals to carry them out.
By the year 2019, the American sports industry is expected to reach $73.5 billion of net worth, propelled by increased revenues deriving from media deals, surpassing ticket sales revenue.
It is the athletes on the field who the fans pay to see perform, whether in person or on broadcast channels. And with revenue increasing rapidly so are athletes paychecks.
But who negotiates these deals between the organization and the players? The agents. Become a sports agent and you can one tap into this lucrative market and get a tiny piece of the pie for yourself.
It’s true that the competition in this industry is high but so are the rewards; and through proper knowledge, research and efforts a career as a sports agent can prove to be very fruitful.
These points are not just great lessons but also incredible start off factors which are sourced from my years of experience and research into the industry as a sports agent.
You can’t just leave college and start off your career as a sports agent right away.
In the beginning, what aspiring agents do is that they look for a job at an agency. Most of those jobs will be acting as a middleman, the person on the ground at events. You’ll deal with an advertising agency or a PR firm on behalf of your agency, and guide your representative through a public appearance or an event.
However, to advance it’s necessary to leverage this agency experience and continually make good contacts. By performing the job of a middleman to your best, you’ll build a reputation as someone who can get the job done efficiently and effectively.
Athletes want to be around people who make them look good, while marketing and advertising firms like to work with people who are dependable and get the job done. In the role of a middleman, every day is like a job interview where you are constantly performing in hopes of being noticed, and remembered, for the right reasons.
This is how you build contacts, people want to know the high performers and ignore those who lack skills. Without contacts, agents will find it hard to sustain themselves.
They are already many agents and agencies out there who have really big clients on their lists, and they work day and night to expand that clientele as well. So when it comes to booking big names in the industry there will be a lot of competition and struggle.
However, there are also many other players with great talent who are new on the field and are in need of good representation.
This is where young agents have an advantage because unlike big agencies you can give an athlete your full attention and work for them with greater dedication. If you have the passion to be an agent you would want to help cultivate that player’s career and if you think you can do that, then that’s the player you’re looking to have on as a client.
Since both of your success will be dependent on each other, the athlete you represent can trust you and view you as a partner, which doesn’t come easy with an established agency. Here it’s important for you to remember that personal relationship advantage and highlight it when trying to get new athletes on board.
For me being a football (soccer) agent was all about understanding how the clubs work and do not work for players, and also that the players were always inclined to move to wherever the money is.
Transfers between various clubs for players are generally similar processes where the club’s scout would look for a player who fit their requirements and then the agents have to find the right rapport and contacts to know these scouts and try to get their players signed with their clubs.
Almost always, players, regardless of the type of sports they play, are on the hunt of better visibility and money which is why most burgeoning players take incredible care not just of their performance but also of their looks as looking and staying fit is as important to get the right attention.
However, great game and looks aren’t enough and that visibility often comes with changing their clubs so the players expect the agents to make those deals for them.
The rules of the game that agents play always keep changing.
Legally anyone can be an agent, all you have to do is pass a test to obtain a license. However, the way things actually work in its entire dynamic of obtaining a client and getting them better opportunities and visibility is much more complex. It doesn’t just depend on the agent but also on the players, club scouts and managers, and lots of networking and negotiations.
In the end, the aspiring agent needs to recognize themselves as being responsible for getting their client to the right places, for the right deal. Whether that be for a particular club, or working towards the right marketing and branding opportunities.
Bottom line, agents need to build relationships with those who have the decision making powers in their sport. That’s the way they can create those possibilities and make success possible for themselves and the players they represent.
Carla Adams is an enthusiastic dreamer and a workaholic to achieve that. She is a blogger, writer, basketball player, technology and fashion freak. For all the updates follow her on Facebook.