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Sports agent


Sports agent

A sports agent procures and negotiates employment and endorsement contracts for an athlete. Agents are responsible for communications with team owners, managers, coaches, and other individuals. Primarily, agents are used to broker and negotiate contracts for their clients. Also, they are responsible for making recommendations in regard to the athlete's options. In addition to finding income sources, agents often handle public relations matters for their clients. In some large sports agencies, such as IMG, Creative Artists Agency, and Octagon, agents deal with all aspects of a client's finances, from investment to filing taxes.

Sports agents may be relied upon by their clients for guidance in all business aspects, and sometimes even more broadly. For example, hockey agents start recruiting clients as young as 15, allowing the agent to guide the athlete's career before the NHL draft, which happens usually at 18 years of age.

Due to the length and complexity of contracts, many sports agents are lawyers or have a background in contract law. Agents are expected to be knowledgeable about finance, business management, and financial and risk analysis, as well as sports. It is important for a sports agent to follow trends in sports. Other skills an agent must possess are excellent communication and negotiation skills. Agents must be highly motivated, willing to work long hours, and have the ability to multitask. It is very common for agents to be in negotiations on behalf of several clients at one time.[1]

Some agents are part of large companies, and some are on their own.[2] The number of clients an individual agent can handle and how many clients his or her employing agency can handle in total are interdependent variables.

Before the 1990s, most soccer players did not use agents. In some cases, they used their fathers as agents. Because of most parents' naivete about the football business, these young footballers were often given less-than-stellar contracts by football clubs, which yielded lower salaries than they thought they deserved.[3] In Sweden, there were only three licensed agents in 1995.[4] As of 2002, there were 33. According to FIFA, there were 5,187 licensed association football agents world-wide, with 600 agents in Italy alone.[5] Since 2001, agents have not been licensed by FIFA. Instead, agents are now licensed directly by each association.

Sports agents generally receive between 4 and 10% of the athlete's playing contract, and 10 to 20% of the athlete's endorsement contract, although these figures vary. NFL agents are not permitted to receive more than 3%, and NBA agents not more than 4%, of their client's playing contracts.


  • Media depictions 1
  • Notable sports agents 2
    • American football 2.1
    • Australian football 2.2
    • Baseball 2.3
    • Basketball 2.4
    • Cricket 2.5
    • European basketball 2.6
    • Association football 2.7
    • Golf 2.8
    • Ice hockey 2.9
    • Motorsport 2.10
    • Olympics 2.11
  • Notable former sports agents 3
  • Sports agency groups 4
    • Formerly active agencies 4.1
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7

Media depictions

The popularity of television shows such as Entourage, which stars a talent agent named Ari Gold, and Arliss, have helped glamorize the profession.[6] Prior to that, movies such as Jerry Maguire, Two for the Money, and Any Given Sunday depicted sports agents. In England, ITV's Footballers' Wives put a new spin on sports agents by casting a no-holds-barred female agent Hazel Bailey.

Due to the popularity of these works, there has been increase of attention in the profession. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair's son decided to become a football agent.[7]

Notable sports agents

American football

Football agent Drew Rosenhaus

Australian football

  • Ricky Nixon: former player, who was the AFL's first full-time player manager[11]




European basketball

Association football


Ice hockey



Notable former sports agents

Sports agency groups

There have been some efforts to transform the sports agency business from an individual, entrepreneurial business, to more of a corporate structure. These experiments met with varying degrees of longevity and success.

Formerly active agencies

Some sports agency firms were once prominent, but are now gone or reorganized:

  • Assante Corporation – Canadian public company that acquired the Steinberg, Moorad & Dunn agency, then acquired other than agencies including Dan Fegan & Associates and Maximum Sports Management in an unsuccessful effort to build multi-sport corporate agency.[38]
  • SFX Entertainment (now Live Nation, a publicly traded company) – in 1998 SFX agreed to pay up to $150 million in cash, stock, and bonuses for F.A.M.E., the sports agency run by David Falk, the agent for basketball players Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing. SFX also acquired two other major sports agencies, Arn Tellem's agency (Tellem & Associates) and the baseball-oriented firm run by Randy Hendricks and Allan Hendricks.[39] SFX would later reverse course, and sell off the pieces of its large sports agency business.
  • Steinberg, Moorad & Dunn ("SMD") – a multi-sport agency sold in October 1999 for reported $120 million to Canadian financial firm. Defections of principals, and litigation, followed. Originally led by entrepreneurial agents Leigh Steinberg and Jeff Moorad.[40]

See also


  1. ^ Job – description of roles of sports agent and some educational programs to prepare for the field
  2. ^ An Industry Of Conglomerates Sports Agent Blog, July 16, 2007
  3. ^ "The Big Interview: Neil Webb" Sunday Times, Nov. 28, 2004, interview with soccer/football player
  4. ^ "Market Saturation of Agents", May 23, 2002, note: source can be translated into English on the website
  5. ^ [ FIFA – Players' agents list – by country]
  6. ^ "So, You Want To Be An Agent? The Entourage Effect" Sports Agent Blog, Dec. 4, 2008
  7. ^ "Blair's son to become a football agent" Nov. 28, 2009, The Independent
  8. ^ Hanzus, Dan (March 4, 2013). "Joe Flacco's Ravens contract includes $52M guaranteed". Around the League ( 
  9. ^ "Authentic Athletix Clients". Retrieved September 2011. 
  10. ^ . New York 
  11. ^ Butler, Steve (March 3, 2008); Show me the money, Ricky Nixon;; Retrieved on March 14, 2009
  12. ^ "Agent says Boras' group 'stalking' his client – MLB – ESPN". May 1, 2006. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  13. ^ Nicholson, Ben (December 23, 2010). "Nationals Sign Sean Burnett To Two-Year Extension: MLB Rumors". Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  14. ^ McGrath, Ben (August 1, 2011). "Tampa Bay Ray’s Late Bloomer Super Sam Fuld". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Interview with Matt Sosnick"
  16. ^ Gus Lubin (November 29, 2010). "The 12 Best Sports Agents In The World". Business Insider. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Agents again at forefront of NBA labor dispute", CNN/SI, December 28, 1998, accessed June 16, 2007.
  18. ^ Migala, Dan. "Career Spotlight: David Falk",, June 4, 2001, accessed June 30, 2007.
  19. ^ Janowitz, Neil (March 9, 2012). "After Backing a Dark Horse, Lin’s Agent Is Riding High". The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  20. ^ " Agents". Retrieved May 8, 2008. 
  21. ^ Nets Star Has Deal to Play in Turkey;The New York Times, 7 July 2011
  22. ^ [3]; The Morning Journal. Bob Finnan. Retrieved July 31, 2008
  23. ^ [4] ESPN. Evan Alexander Demiriel. Retrieved July 23, 2011
  24. ^
  25. ^ "How Tiger's Top Man is Managing the Crisis", Wall Street Journal, Dec 8, 2009, Wall Street Journal – subscription and fee may be required to access older articles
  26. ^  
  27. ^ Tait, Alistair (October 21, 2011). "McIlroy leaves Chandler's ISM for Horizon Sports".  
  28. ^ - Features
  29. ^ Michael Barnett
  30. ^ "Barnett joins Rangers' front office". New York Rangers. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  31. ^ "Top 10 Sports Agents -Ask
  32. ^ "Octagon Sports – Hockey – Team Bios – Allan Walsh". Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Peter Carlisle – Sports Agent for Action Sports". Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Colleen Howe, 'Mrs. Hockey', dies at 76". Associated Press. March 6, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2009. 
  35. ^
  36. ^ Harig, Bob (July 17, 2011). "Darren Clarke returns in major triumph". Retrieved July 18, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Jay-Z Launches Roc Nation Sports Teams With CAA to Co-Represent Robinson Cano".  
  38. ^ "These Drafts Come and Go, and So Do Agents' Fortunes" New York Times, April 28, 2003
  39. ^ Steinberg Sells Sports Firm" New York Times October 28, 1999""". October 28, 1999. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  40. ^ "Crash Landing"- ESPN , by Peter Keating, article about Leigh Steinberg

Further reading

  • How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know, by Darren Heitner, 2014, ABA Book Publishing, ISBN 978-1-61438-916-3
  • The Business of Sports Agents, by Kenneth L. Shropshire, Timothy Davis, 2008, University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 978-0-8122-4084-9
  • License to Deal: A Season on the Run with a Maverick Baseball Agent, by Jerry Crasnick, 2005, Rodale Books, ISBN 978-1-59486-024-9
  • An Athlete's Guide to Agents: 5th Edition, by Bob Ruxin with Darren Heitner, 2009, Jones and Bartlett, ISBN 978-0-7637-7611-4
  • How To Be A Sports Agent, by Mel Stein, 2008, High Stakes Publishing, ISBN 978-1-84344-045-1
  • The Football Agent, by Knut Høibraaten, 2015, HHH Forlag, ISBN 978-8-26900-990-3
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