Sports agents help manage the careers of athletes and sports industry clients, advocating for them and protecting them along the way. If you’ve seen the movie Jerry Maguire, then you have some idea of what it’s like being a sports agent – but do you know what they actually do and how your law degree can benefit you in this type of career?
What Do Sports Agents Do?
A sports agent has many different roles, including but not limited to:
- Advising clients
- Negotiating on-the-court and on-the-field contracts
- Finding and negotiating endorsement deals and marketing opportunities
- Servicing deals that already exist
- Handling public relations
- Managing clients’ financial interests.
I spoke with Brian Samuels, a sports agent, and partner at Evolution Management & Marketing in Los Angeles. A former BigLaw associate, Brian decided that leaving law to follow his passions and become a sports agent was the best career move. We spoke about what sports agents do, how to become a sports agent, and how you can use your legal skills to make it an excellent alternative career for lawyers.
How To Become A Sports Agent
Sports agents are very much relationship-driven. Therefore, they must have the ability to jump on the phone, be engaging, and talk about their mission with passion and enthusiasm. As a sports agent, you have to be aggressive to keep yourself out there fighting for your clients. You must be able to handle a fast-paced environment, be flexible, and show that you can jump when clients say “jump.” You must also be willing to travel when a deal or relationship’s success requires it.
Sports agents jobs are great non-legal careers for lawyers because of all the legal skills that come into play – like procuring and negotiating endorsement deals.
What Does a Sports Agent Do?
A sports agent’s day-to-day involves managing clients, which includes:
- Servicing deals that already exist
- Finding new deals
- Having conversations with athlete clients
- Finding out what’s going on with clients
- Discovering new opportunities that might exist for clients and going out and finding those opportunities
Sports agents can specialize in off-the-field, off-the-court marketing opportunities on behalf of their clients. They can also negotiate on-the-court, on-the-field contracts for clients.
Additionally, they can be responsible for sponsorship deals, branding, and marketing after an athlete has signed a contract with their team. When it comes to off-the-court representation, a sports agent’s job is to go out and try to procure endorsement deals, appearances, or anything that can generate additional revenue for the player outside the player contract.
It’s a Relationship Game
Like any other business, the sports agent business is a relationship game. Often, sports agents will deal directly with athletes, who may or may not refer them to their contract agent, which is why building strong relationships with both the athlete and the people around them are essential. From negotiating the agreement to papering it, every deal is different, from servicing the deal to whether they’re getting paid on time.
A Sports Agent Career is an Exciting Career for People With Law Degrees
One of the great things about being a sports agent like Brian is that you get to see the product of your work – often in the form of a television commercial instead of seeing a judge hand down a decision.
There is a lot of excitement that comes with being around athletes, watching their performance on the field, and seeing that translate into potential business success. Touchdowns from an athlete you represent can earn you hundreds of thousands of dollars, making this career such an enticing one. In addition, it’s an excellent alternative for people looking to branch out of the law field and use their skills in a more exciting environment.
This interview with Brian goes more in-depth about what it’s like to be a sports agent, what type of person makes the best fit for this path, tips on how to break in, and how to succeed in this field. So if you love sports, negotiating, and deal-making, have an interest in exploring alternative careers, or you’ve hit a wall and can’t stop thinking about how you hate being a lawyer, make sure to check out what Brian has to say.
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Liked this article? Here are three more:
- Does Leaving Law Mean Not Earning Enough Money?
- Don’t Wait for Recruiters!
- Thinking Outside the Box Like Jerry Garcia
This article was originally published in 2015 but updated in 2021.