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How to Become a Sports Agent

Many up-and-coming sports professionals have found themselves intrigued by the prospect of becoming a sports agent as a result of various images of the profession now prevalent in popular culture. As it happens, the concept of the wheeling-and-dealing, hotshot, fast-talking sports agent constantly negotiating a higher salary for their client is mostly a stereotype, but not entirely false. A large part of an agent’s job does, in fact, involve circulating between their clients and ensuring that they’re being fairly compensated, but that’s only one small dimension of the services they provide to athletes.

While some sports agents do fixate on ensuring that their clients (and they, by proxy) are receiving the largest possible paycheck, truly effective sports agents act as complete representatives of their client’s aspirations, rights, and needs. They get to know their clients on a personal level, determining the client’s long- and short-term financial needs and building a plan that balances their family and their desired geographical locations with their athletic and personal ambitions. The agent’s job is to represent these wishes to sports organizations and other associations and strive to execute on their plans as effectively as possible. In this way, sports agents offer a crucial service to athletes, allowing their clients to focus on their performance while they handle financial agreements, logistical concerns, and generally fight for their client’s wishes.

Contract negotiations are certainly a part of that goal, and fall well within the purview of a sports agent’s job description, but financial elements only represent one of the significant considerations. Promotional agreements, public image campaigns, and philanthropic efforts can also be things that a sports agent coordinates. That said, with athletes having relatively short careers in professional sports and dealing with the perpetual threat of a debilitating injury, ensuring their legal and fiscal representation and well-being is certainly important.

Becoming a Sports Agent

As the field relies heavily on the individual’s connectivity to the sports world and new opportunities arising through developing talent, there isn’t necessarily one concrete path towards a sports agent job. That said, our specialized Florida sports management program is a consistent trend among successful sports agents, and those offered by schools with high-profile, nationally recognized athletic organizations can certainly add a lot to a student’s resume.

In addition to the skills necessary to defend a client’s rights and desires effectively, aspiring sports agents should prepare themselves for what can be a highly competitive (and sometimes highly lucrative) space. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual sports agent salary (the figure includes those in entertainment and the arts) nationwide is around $101,380. However, as these high numbers are conditional on having clients that are persistently in demand, the competition to secure the latest young talent can be, in a word, cutthroat.

To combat this, it’s essential that sports agents make connections in the field, opening up opportunities to meet with up-and-coming (or even undiscovered talent) to try and lock in their first big-name client. Graduate programs in sport management can help them connect to the field through their school’s athletic organization, but anyone interested in the field needs to be proactive, doggedly pursuing any networking opportunity.

Additionally, sports agents should be well-aware of the field’s propensity to require constant availability from its members. With an ongoing and reasonably well-established stable of clients, issues can arise at any time, day or night, that require immediate attention. Stephen Canter, who represented now-retired Carolina Panthers running back Stephen Davis, said to ESPN.com, “On a typical day, I’m in on 300 to 500 phone calls.” That’s likely the far end of the spectrum, but it’s something to consider when pursuing a sports agent job.

In return, sports agents get to work in an incredibly exciting field that changes with each coming day. They interact directly with athletes and sports organizations to ensure that the central proponents of the sport they love are treated fairly in a number of different respects. They certainly earn their keep, but the rewards – both financial and personal – of landing a high-end client and representing them well can be immense. With the right skills, an unyielding passion for sport, and a whole lot of tenacity, skilled professionals can make their way towards becoming a leading sports agent.

About UF’S Online M.S. in Sport Management

The online Master of Science in Sport Management from University of Florida readies professionals to take on complex financial and administrative challenges in the world of athletics. The comprehensive sport management curriculum can help you develop the leadership abilities and administrative proficiency necessary to advance your career. Students can customize their education by taking electives in their areas of interest or choosing between optional specializations in:

  • Athlete Development readies graduates to counsel players on striking a healthy balance between their physical performance and mental and financial well-being in positions like athletic director or director of player engagement.
  • High Performance Coaching is intended for students who wish to pursue positions in managerial coaching or athletic administration, showing them how to foster the best performances in athletes.
  • Sport Law teaches lawyers and administrators about legal principles that can have important applications in the world of athletics, including insurance, real estate finance, insurance, and fair competition.

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