Perhaps you’ve watched Jerry McGuire a dozen times. You’ve dreamed for years of being the one to show that NFL star the money. If this is you, then you’re looking for information about how to build a sports agent career. Here are a few things to consider in the pursuit of this competitive career.
* Break out the books: Higher education must be part of your plans. No specific degree is required for a sports agent, but because much of the work of a sports agent revolves around contract negotiation, it is not at all uncommon to find agents who hold law degrees or a master’s in sports management or business administration. The successful sports agent also possesses strong verbal and written communications, understands contracts, and knows league rules like the back of his or her hand.
* Look for internships: An internship with a sports management agency is invaluable to the aspiring sports agent, as it enables him or her to gain hands on experience under the direction of an experienced mentor. The internship is so important that many undergraduate sports management degree programs require it. The internship doesn’t even have to be with a sports management firm — other companies that may have internships available that will offer practice in the necessary sports agent skills include PR firms, marketing and advertising companies, and even organizations that manage summer youth sporting events. * Get a job: If an internship isn’t available, then a sales job is the next best thing. Remember: Getting a job in the sports industry isn’t nearly as dependent on having previous experience in the sports industry as it is on the acquisition of the skills needed and the desire to succeed. So much of attracting clients and negotiating contracts relies on the agent’s ability to sell not only his or her expertise, but the athlete’s abilities to a team and his attributes to the media as well.
* License and registration, please: Though there is no national board that governs the licensing and registration requirements for sports agents, many states have their own requirements. Find out what the laws are in your state and how to go about meeting these requirements. * Sports certification: The NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL all require agents to go through a certification process and to maintain that certification throughout their career. The process is a little different for each league — to be a certified NFL agent, you must pass a written exam, and to be an agent for the MLB, you must have a client on a 40-man roster before you’re eligible for certification. In addition, agents of any professional sport must become aware of the league regulations and players union requirements and complete any registration requirements in their state in order to obtain certification. The certification process also offers the prospective agent additional training in a number of subjects including the ins and outs of contract negotiation, collective bargaining, industry ethics and sample salaries for agents and fee structures for services. * Build your network: Networking is another important aspect of this career. Linking up with other agents in your state can be the beginning of a glorious business partnership. Having a good relationship with your clients can mean more clients who would like you to show them the money.
A career as a sports agent can be both challenging and rewarding. If you’d like more information, contact us.