Should I Become a Sports Agent?
Sports agents negotiate contracts for athletes. They may work out the details in contracts between athletes and sports teams as well as between athletes and endorsers. When they are not working out contracts, sports agents are often promoting the value of their athletes. Travel is often required, and the work may be stressful due to keen competition. Although a degree is not required, many sports managers have law degrees or other graduate degrees in areas like business administration or sports management.
The median annual wage for agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was $62,940 in May 2015.
|Degree Level||None but most have a master's degree|
|Degree Field(s)||Sports management, business, or law|
|License/Certification||Many states require licensure or registration|
|Experience||Sales experience; internships when available|
|Key Skills||Strong verbal/written communication and negotiation skills; solid understanding of contracts; knowledge of league rules|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$62,940 (for agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No formal degree is required, but it is common for agents to have a master's degree in sports management or business, or a law degree. There are also internships available in this field. Sales experience is beneficial, along with strong verbal and written communication skills, a solid understanding of contracts, knowledge of league rules, and good negotiation skills.
Many states require licensure or registration as an athlete agent.
How to Become a Sports Agent
You can follow these steps to become a sports agent.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Aspiring sports agents can pursue degrees in sports management. A sports management degree program combines coursework relating to business with courses that provide basic instruction on exercise science. Students may also take courses in sports marketing, finance, business law, and kinesiology. Some programs require an internship. Sometimes a sports management degree is offered in the kinesiology or exercise science department, and the program may also be available at a business school.
Make sure to really work on building your communication skills. Agents will be required to communicate the value of their athletes to sports teams, corporations, and even charities. It is important to build persuasive communication skills by taking speech courses or joining public speaking groups.
Also try to gain experience. You'll benefit from an internship at a sports management agency or through gaining experience in sales, which helps with developing persuasive speaking skills.
Step 2: Become Licensed or Registered
In many states, including Georgia, New York and Florida, agents who represent athletes are required to become licensed or registered. There is not a formal board that governs this process across the country, so the various requirements can vary by state. Generally, prospective agents will only need to submit to a background check, along with an application and any applicable fees.
Step 3: Consider Opportunities for Career Advancement
Sports agents can also consider going to law school. Here they will use their studies to help them read and negotiate contracts. However, it is not mandatory to go to law school, and sports agents can also find master's degree programs that offer training in sports management, such as the Master of Business Administration. With this type of degree, students can learn the details of the sports industry, such as how to develop a brand for players, as well as the details of salary caps and intellectual property rights in the field. The program may also include an internship.