LEARN ABOUT DREAM CAREERS
Would you love to say "show me the money!" on behalf of professional athletes? That's basically what you will do in a dream career as a sports agent.
What They Do
Sports agents are the savvy deal closers who work representing professional athletes to get them big-money contracts and endorsement deals worth millions of dollars.
Sports agents work much like other agents dothey represent talent, work out deals for their clients, and then take a percentage of each successfully negotiated deal when it closes as their payment.
Sports agents must understand the sport that the athletes they represent play, and they must be aware of the talent and records of upcoming college seniors and sometimes even elite amateur athletes. When sports teams pick their draft choices, sports agents persuade the draft choices to sign on with them as clients by convincing athletes that they will get them the most lucrative deals.
In addition to draft hopefuls, sports agents work with athletes who already play for pro teams by helping them to get book deals, television and movie appearances, and especially endorsement deals. As a sports agent you will do some or all of the following:
Who is Likely to Succeed
The most important thing you need to be a sports agent is superb interpersonal skills. You must be able to convince people to talk to you -- from athletes and their parents, to giant corporations -- and you must know how to move conversations from "just talk" into negotiations for giant salaries and other contractual deals.
If you love sports, or are extremely knowledgeable about at least one sport, and you consider yourself a great communicator and expert salesperson, you may find that a career as a sports agent is perfect for you.
How to Learn It
While some sports agents are retired professional athletes or attorneys who specialize in sports law, there are no special educational or background requirements to be a sports agent. Many sports agents get into the business with just a love of sports, their great negotiating and sales skills, and their networking ability.
However, even if you are a rookie when it comes to being a sports agent, there are a number of ways you can learn the business, including some accredited college courses that specialize in teaching sports agents how the business works and what they will need to learn and do to get started.
Begin tuning up your talent by reading up not only on the business of being a sports agent, but also the sports that you hope to focus on when you become an agent. Start at your local community college by taking sales, communication, or sports history courses.
There are a number of courses available both online and in traditional classroom settings designed for those who wish to become sports agents, like those offered through the international sports management agency Sports Management Worldwide. SMW has a program that allows agents in training who have taken their course to register to be "Agent Advisors," who act as quasi-agents and get to recruit and develop relationships while working in tandem with experienced agents.
Most professional sports leagues require you to register and pay fees to become a registered sports agent who is legally able to represent athletes in a league. Some leagues also require agent applicants to take and pass a test.
by Tag and Catherine Goulet:
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