2 Introduction Many sport agencies began by representing athletes. Large multiservice agency firms have evolved to include sport marketing and event management.See IMGLaw of agency imposes fiduciary duties on the sport agent. (See Chapter 5)A highly competitive business:Many agents have no clients or are doing agency work part-time.Much consolidation has led to major firms
3 History of Sport Agency Industry C. C. “Cash & Carry” Pyle often cited as first sport agentWorked with Susan Lenglen and Red GrangeUntil the 1970s was extremely rare for pro team sport athlete to have an agentTeams generally refused to deal with agentsNo free agency until 1976, so little leverage to negotiateAgents have existed in individual sports such as golf and tennis for a longer time
4 Sport Agency: Seven Factors That Influenced Growth Evolution of players’ associations.1970: MLBPA negotiated through collective bargaining for right for players to be represented by agentsFree agency granted to players through the Messersmith-McNally arbitration decision.Need for tax and financial planning increased as salaries increased.Development of competing leagues created competition for players and thus higher salaries.Increased opportunity for athletes to increase income through endorsements with opening up of television and entertainment industries.
5 Sport Agency: Evolution of Sport Agencies Late 1990s saw creation of “uberagencies”Firms bought up smaller firms to growSFX, OctagonLater broke up due to internal strife2000s saw rise of CAA and WassermanSame strategy of buying up smaller firms
6 Sport Agency: Representing Individual Athletes Income dependent on consistent performance in events, appearance fees from events, and the ability to promote and market athlete’s imageAgent often travels with athlete, tending to daily distractions so athlete can stay focused on playingLarge firms doing individual representation are often involved in all aspects of the sport (event management/marketing, broadcasting, consulting)Possible conflict of interest?Olympic Movement is growth areaAthlete branding important aspect of job
7 Sport Agency: Representing Coaches and Management Because of increased income and increased job movement and added pressures on coaches to succeed, the number of coaches (and even general managers) with agents is growing.Increased complexities of coaching may make having an agent to rely on for advice and counsel almost a necessity.
8 Sport Agency FirmsFreestanding sport management firm: A full-service firm providing a wide range of services to the athleteLaw practice–only firm: Lawyer performs many legal tasks (contract negotiation, arbitration, legal counseling, dispute resolution, and the preparation of tax forms)Sport management firm affiliated with a law firm: Each fills a void by providing the services the other does not offer
9 Sport Agency Firms: Boutique vs. Large Conglomerates Boutique firmsSmall firms find greater success representing athletes in one sport and focusing on one or two services for the athletes or coaches.In smaller firms, an agent works alone or with a small group of employees.Advantage may be that athletes receive increased attention and are actually represented by the person he or she originally signed a contract with.Disadvantage may be that a solo agent often cannot offer as many services as a large firm.
10 Sport Agency Firms: Boutique vs. Large Conglomerates Conglomerate firmsIn larger firms, the agent may be part of an international conglomerate representing many athletes in a broad range of sports.Provide one stop shopping for servicesMore history, reputation and contactsHave other star playersIncreased bargaining positionDisadvantage may be that there is often a large stable of clients, and an athlete may be a “small fish in a big pond.”
11 Sport Agency Firms: Fees Charged by Agents Four MethodsFlat fee arrangementAthlete must pay agent an amount of money agreed upon before the agent acts for the athletePercentage of compensation methodOften covers negotiation plus all of the work related to the provisions of the contract over its term; most popularHourly rateHourly rate with a compensation cap
12 Sport Agency Firms: Fee Issues Players’ associations limit amount of agent fees.Fierce competition for clients has driven average fees down closer to 2% to 3%.Limitation only exists for the fees the agents can charge for negotiating the athlete’s contract, not for marketing deals.
13 Career Opportunities with Sport Agency Firms Sports event managerRun events owned by sport agenciesSports marketing representativeCoordinates all of the marketing and sponsorship activities for sports propertiesSports agentMay perform just one function (e.g., contract negotiation) or may have a number of employees performing functions for clients
14 Functions of the Sport Agent: Player/Coach Contract Negotiation Agent must be knowledgeable about the sport and the rules, regulations, documents (contract, collective bargaining agreement, constitution), and common practices of its governing body.Agent must understand the value of the player’s or coach’s services.Agents must administer the contract and ensure the parties comply with their contract promises.
15 Functions of the Sport Agent: Marketing the Athlete/Coach Should develop a plan in which each endorsement creates an image consistent with the athlete’s or coach’s ambitions and long-range goalsAgent must keep in mind that client’s career and public persona may be short-lived; with salary restrictions, market deals more importantMust also be familiar with restrictions that may limit an athlete’s or coach’s marketing opportunities; know market value of clientUsually seek product endorsements before nonproduct endorsements—easier to obtain
16 Functions of the Sport Agent: Financial Planning Covers banking and cash flow management, tax planning, investment advising, estate planning, and risk managementSport agents often attempt to take on this function without proper skills and trainingDoing so can lead to allegations of incompetence and negligenceDisability insurance plans to protect athletes from career-ending injuriesRecent surge of companies offering athletes pre-draft lines of credit
17 Functions of the Sport Agent: Career and Postcareer Planning Agent must help a client with transition into a professional career and again with the transition into retirement from the sport.Agent must maximize the client’s earning potential during and after his or her playing career, but avoid overexposure.Agent may take on the establishment of sport camps or charitable organizations under the athlete’s or coach’s name.Must prepare for financial crisis for athlete post career
18 Functions of the Sport Agent: Legal Counsel and Dispute Resolution Provide legal counseling on contract and other legal mattersHowever, nature of the legal work may dictate that a lawyer specializing in a particular area is better suited for providing the actual legal servicesResolve disputes the athlete or coach may have with his or her league, team, fans, referees or umpires, press, or endorsement companies.
19 Key Skills Required of Sports Agents Professional degree not usually required, but expectedKnow Industry sectorEconomics, inner workings, document, contactsOral and written communicationNegotiationsShielding client from media
20 Current Issues: Unethical Behavior Great deal of criticism and a public perception that the behavior of those in the agent profession is excessively unethicalFive key problems in the profession:Income mismanagementIncompetenceConflicts of interestCharging of excessive feesOverly aggressive client recruitment
21 Current Issues: Agent Regulation Sport agents today must maneuver through a maze of conduct-governing regulations.Many groups regulate agents:Players’ associationsAgents register with unions and pay feeStates (44 currently have some form of regulation); most have UAAAFederal government (SPARTA)NCAAAthletes can also seek recourse under tort, criminal, agency, and consumer protection laws.
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