What Is a Sports Agent?

Role of a sports agent; day-to-day duties.

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Authority to Act on Behalf Of Pro Athletes

A sports agent is someone who is given authority to transact business for a professional athlete. A contract between a sports agent and an athlete forms the basis of agreement regarding both compensation for the agent and the nature of the agent's authority to act on behalf of the athlete. The nature of compensation and scope of authority varies, depending on the particular contract.

Wearing Many Different Hats

A sports agent is always changing or adapting to its circumstances. Sports agents have to be well versed in many different trades. Sports agents have various different backgrounds and academic credentials: some are lawyers, business managers, coaches, former players, family members, or close friends. Anyone can become a sports agent, but a sports agent must be able to wear many different hats.

Ability to Successfully Scout and Recruit Clients

Sports agents should have the ability to scout and recruit an athlete. This may mean traveling to various cities around the world to see the athlete perform against various levels of competition. By recruiting, a sports agent must have a unique senses of salesmanship, to allow the athlete to “buy into” why the athlete should choose him or her.

Possess Contract Negotiation Skills and Basic Knowledge of Player Contracts

The most essential part of the standard player-agent contract is the sports agent's obligation to negotiate a contract. Implied in this obligation is the understanding that the sports agent possesses the necessary background, skills, experiences, and expertise to perform this task to a degree that corresponds with the skills and knowledge that are standard to the profession.

By virtue of contract law, a sports agent must be able to read and comprehend a player contract to assist his or her client in critical life-playing decisions. Negotiation skills are equally important when trying to close a deal or sign a player to commit to an agency or individual. Rudimentary math skills are important as well to a sports agent because he or she needs to have an understanding on how the salary cap works and the tax implications of the deal ramification.

A Wide Array of Services

Marketing and public relations are also skills that a sports agent needs to have which will allow him or her to assist in building a player's brand and facilitate a player's image within the market. Sports agents also connect their athlete(s) to various professionals such as accountants, financial managers, business managers, personal assistants, and lawyers. The number of functions that a sports agent can perform is limited only by the sports agent's imagination. The list of functions that might be covered include:

Contracts Income Tax Preparation Financial Planning
Money Management Investments Physical Training Consultations
Incorporation Estate Planning Endorsements & Marketing
Sports Medicine Consultations Personal Development Counseling Post-Career Development
Insurance & Risk Management Legal Consultations Real Estate & Mortgages
Transportation Management Travel Management Luxury Item Services
Many Other Services