Nearly every sports fan has dreamt of becoming a sports agent. These professionals spend countless hours with players, coaches, and other agents. It’s a fantastic way to stay “in the game.” But what does it take to become a sports agent?
What is a Sports Agent?
“A sports agent handles the business and legal deals for professional athletes, negotiates contracts and endorsement deals, handles negative publicity and helps athletes manage their money,” said Johnson & Wales professor and online instructor Patrick Leary, Ed.D. Duties for sports agents also often involve finding and negotiating contract deals for players. In the world today, many professional sports players have their own sports agents. These professionals form relationships with players and negotiate salaries and contract deals with teams. Sports agents are typically the go-between from playter to organization and vice versa. The agent works to get the best possible deal for his or her client, who is, in most cases, the player.
But that’s not where their duties end, in fact in today's sports world, agents have to have an eye for talent too. “Today’s sports agents also spend a considerable amount of time scouting new talent with hope of signing new player-agent contracts,” Leary explained.
What Skills Are Needed?
Many skills are suitable for a career as a sports agent, but some skills outweigh others, namely:
A Passion for Sports
While many of us enjoy watching sports from time to time, sports agents are people who eat, breathe, and dream about sports every single day. Sports agents have a huge love for sports and they are constantly crunching numbers, talking with players, and dealing with many different facets of the game.
The industry blends practical aspects of business, sales, and sports, all at a high level. That said, there is a lot of person-to-person interaction involved. Sports agents are frequently meeting with team representatives, players, and coaches about strategy, contract details, and much more. All of these instances require a high level of communication, and those with the best communication skills are primed to outperform the rest. If you enjoy communicating with others constantly—and you love sports—then a sports agent career could be right for you.
Communication is key for sports agents, but it’s also extremely important to have sales skills. Player careers are often very short. They need, and deserve, to get as much out of their contracts as possible. On the other side, the team often has to meet salary cap restrictions, and they have a number of players they need to make happy with that salary cap. According to Leary, when it comes to making the best deal for their player, sports agents who have marketing knowledge thrive. “The most successful agents must have marketing savvy in order to enhance the brand profile of their clients through social media marketing, player appearances and promotions, as well as endorsement deals,” Leary explained. Both the organization and the player want to make a good deal. Good sports agents negotiate with both parties to find a deal that works for everyone—a process that requires exemplary sales skills.
The work environment varies, but sports agents typically work independently or as a part of an agency. If you’re just starting out in the profession, then you may begin conducting research and helping out with logistics. Independent sports agents are typically seasoned experts who handle the whole process on their own.
What’s the Salary of a Sports Agent?
According to Payscale.com, the average annual sports agent salary is $59,829. However, sports agent salaries are extremely diverse, so you can make much more than this if you work for a big name like LeBron James, Tom Brady, or Mike Trout. That said, it is very common for a sports agent to make six figures or more. According to Payscale, the top 10% of annual sports agent salaries are $90,000. On the other hand, the bottom 10% are paid only $27,000 on average.
What Type of Education is Needed?
In order to become a sports agent, it is common for these professionals to have an extensive list of academic accomplishments. For one, a background in sports management and sales is frequently needed. However, a law degree is another approach to take for many aspiring sports agents. That is because there are constant contract negotiations and legal hoops to jump through, so having this experience can be extremely useful.
Sports Agent Education
According to Leary, sports agents typically have a fair amount of schooling under their belt. “Many sports agents are graduates of sports management programs at the undergraduate who then go on to pursue a law degree,” he said. “However a law degree is not necessary to become a sports agent.” While having a law degree can be a great step in the right direction, many sports agents also have a degree in sports management.
Many aspiring sports agents will first obtain an undergraduate degree in sports management and then go on to receive a law degree. Another approach is to take a master’s degree program focused on sports leadership or something similar. These courses and degrees provide key skills and a solid foundation of sales, marketing, communication, and more—all of which are needed to excel as a sports agent.
Find Sports Agent Education at Johnson & Wales
If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a sports agent, then Johnson & Wales University is here to bring your dreams to life. We offer a comprehensive path to becoming a successful sports agent, and we can give you the tools needed to excel in the field.
Begin your journey by earning your bachelor's degree in sports, entertainment, event - management, master’s degree in Sport Leadership, or an MBA in Sport Leadership through our many amazing programs. No matter which approach you take, we provide you with a clear path to following your dreams of becoming a sports agent for some of the biggest names in the world.
Here at Johnson & Wales University, our mission is to deliver top-of-the-line education that inspires success and lifelong personal and intellectual growth. For more information, complete the “Request Info” form on this page, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].