How to Become a Sports Agent
Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Sports Agents Make Sure Their Athletes Get the Best
Moms know better than most how to multitask and manage whatever comes their way, which is exactly the role of a sports agent. Instead of managing a family, however, sport agents manage athletes. Moms who love sports can combine their management skills with the right connections and education to break into the sports agent industry.
Sports agents are the primary representatives for athletes. Agents do more than just negotiate an athlete’s contract. As an agent, you’re also responsible for setting up public appearances, raising media awareness for your athlete, acquiring endorsements and providing career advice.
In addition to negotiating the athlete’s contract and acquiring endorsements, agents also are responsible for making sure all fees and salaries are collected. Providing career advice includes taking the athlete’s family and geographic desires into consideration when figuring out the best team for your athlete.
Sports agents must have amazing people skills since they’re required to communicate with the athlete as well as anyone the athlete might deal with during his career. This includes teams, media, companies and charity organizations.
It’s not necessarily a requirement for sports agents to have a bachelor’s degree, depending on what sports league you work with, but it helps. Many sports agents get a degree in sports management as well as a law or business degree to ensure that contracts are drawn up correctly.
If you plan to work with any athlete who desires to enter a sport professionally, you’ll need certification as a sports agent from that league.
The National Football League Player’s Association requires agents to have an undergraduate degree as well as a master’s or law degree. The National Basketball Player's Association also requires an undergrad degree or relevant negotiating experience. The Major League Baseball Player’s Association has three different levels of certification. Anyone certified as an expert agent advisor must have an undergrad degree as well as a post-graduate degree or four or more years of negotiating experience.
Most leagues also require you to take an exam administered by the league before achieving certification. The exam generally covers the league rules, salary information, player benefits and substance abuse policies.
Some states require you to be licensed in the state you practice. Any agent representing a combative sport, such as mixed martial arts, boxing or wrestling, needs a combative sports agent license in the state in which you plan to represent athletes because of the higher risk involved in these sports.
The median annual salary for an agent is $89,590, according to the United States Department of Labor. This means that half of all agents make less than this amount, and half make more. This salary represents agents for artists and entertainers as well as athletes.
About the Industry
As a sports agent, you can work with any professional athlete as long as you hold certification from their league. With teams across the United States in a variety of sports, you have plenty of options, but it’s a competitive environment.
Because of the competition in sports over talented players, the job can be stressful at times. Additionally, you must maintain constant availability via phone or email. The job may require a lot of time on the road with the athletes you represent as well as extra time in the office reviewing contracts.
Years of Experience
As a sports agent, your salary goes up as your athlete’s value increases. So, don’t expect much when you first enter the sports agent scene. As you gain experience and sign more athletes, you’ll see your salary increase.
You can increase your chances of signing a professional athlete in a couple different ways:
- Find a grad program at a school that consistently produces professional athletes. As you go through the sports management program, you’ll make connections with these athletes, giving you a leg up when they enter the professional sports world.
- Participate in sports, either as a team member or team manager, so you have an understanding of the sport. Even watching the sport on TV gives you extra insight.
Once you find success with one athlete, your reputation begins to grow, and other athletes are sure to follow.
Job Growth Trend
The Department of Labor doesn’t offer specific job growth information for sports agents, but it projects growth at 10 percent for entertainers, performers, sports and related workers. Although this growth is about average, competition for these jobs is expected to be strong.
Current agents point out that many players are starting to represent themselves, and the traditional role of agents simply managing contracts is gone. Agents who want to have the most success need to expand the services they offer to athletes, including more focus on social media, community outreach and marketing partnerships.
- United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics: Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers and Athletes
- United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics: Umpires, Referees and Other Sports Officials
- Sports Management Degree Hub: How Do I Become a Sports Agent?
- Study.com: Become a Sports Agent
- University of Florida: How to Become a Sports Agent
- National Football League Player's Association: How to Become an Agent
- Chron: What License is Needed for Sports Management?
- Forbes: 20+ Sports Agents Discuss Business Evolution, What's Ahead in 2017
Tamara Runzel has plenty of experience on the professional side of things as well as the parenting side. The homeschooling mom of three young children earned a degree in Communication well before settling down to have a family. Since then she has built her expertise working in various areas of news. Tamara began her writing career writing, producing and reporting for television news before moving to print news at a military base. After having kids, Tamara decided it was time to find an avenue that allowed her to pursue writing as well as stay home to raise her kids. The knowledge she has gained in both the professional and parenting world are very useful writing online for sites such as WorkingMother.