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How to Become a Sports Agent

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Sports agents help coaches, footballers, golfers and other athletes to earn greater commercial rewards from their talents and sporting abilities. They represent their clients in contract negotiations with sports clubs and corporate firms, secure sponsorship deals and advise athletes on how to manage their income. Aspiring agents must have an interest in sports, superb negotiation skills and a background in law, business or sports management.

Earn the Degree

Competent sports agents have an intricate understanding of the business and legal aspects of sports management. As such, prospective agents can enter this profession through a bachelor’s degree in law, business administration or sports management. Many undergraduate students often secure internships at sports agencies to learn how the profession operates and gain some hands-on experience before graduating. Professionals with a baccalaureate in a sports-specific field -- such as kinesiology -- can complete a graduate degree in business management to get started as a sports agent.

Develop the Skills

Strong negotiation skills are central to the competence of sports agents. When holding negotiations with a sports club, for example, they focus on securing contracts that meet their clients’ financial interests. Agents need good attention to detail skills to detect errors in contracts before they are sealed, interpersonal skills to maintain positive relationships with athletes and customer-service skills to attract new clients. Patience is also essential. According to the College Foundation of North Carolina, it can take a qualified sports agent up to six years to grow a solid client base.

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Obtain a License

Although many states license sports agents, others -- such as Texas -- only require agents to be certified by a national sports association. Licensees typically need to submit an application and pay a fee. Various sports have professional organizations that certify and govern the conduct of players' agents. For example, the National Football Players Association certifies agents who want to represent athletes playing in the NFL. To obtain certification, applicants must have a master’s degree in business or law, or a bachelor's degree with at least seven years of negotiation experience. Agents of baseball players must also be certified by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Find a Job

Newly qualified sports agents can find jobs in established sports agencies and sports management companies. After making industry contacts and gaining vast job experience, they can can start their own agencies or sports consulting businesses. Agents with a master's degree can pursue a doctor of education in sports management to teach the next generation of sports agents in colleges and universities. In 2013, agents and business managers of athletes, artists and performers earned a mean annual wage of $96,410, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About the Author

Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.

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