Preparing to Be a Sports Agent
- Get an education.Most sports agents have at least a bachelor's degree. Some schools will offer a degree in sports management. You might also want to major in business management or marketing.
- Study business, negotiation, marketing and law. The skills and principles you learn in these classes will help you develop your skills as a sports agent.
- Get involved in extracurricular activities. Even if you are not a natural athlete yourself, pay attention to the sports teams at your school and develop relationships with players, coaches and others involved in the teams. This will help your communication and networking skills.
- Pay attention to professional and amateur sports.You will naturally gravitate towards the sports you love to watch, but watch all sports developments. Figure skaters and tennis players will need an agent just as much as professional football players.
- Learn how sports agents work.
- Get to know how players are recruited, what the toughest parts of contract negotiations are and what brands and companies look for in a spokesperson.
- Read everything you can in the sports news during draft season and even in the post season. As a sports agent, these times will be more important to you than the regular playing season.
- Look for internships.As in any industry, you will need to get your foot in the door somewhere and pay your dues. An unpaid internship is one way to do this.
- Find opportunities with groups such as the NCAA on job sites such as the Sports Job Board.
- Expect to do a lot of paperwork as an intern. You may not be negotiating on behalf of Derek Jeter, but you will get a chance to see what a player's contract looks like, read scouting reports and develop marketing materials for specific athletes.
- Learn how to network.This is an essential skill for a sports agent.
- Use your internship or other opportunities to develop a contact list. Get used to introducing yourself and staying in touch with people who can help your career.
- Practice communicating and negotiating.You will need to be very good at these two skills in order to be successful.
Working as a Sports Agent
- Join a large sports agency.You can start your career by working with an established organization.
- Look for sports management companies with good reputations, no shortage of clients and an opportunity to work with athletes from all different sports.
- Start your own business.You might prefer to freelance as an agent, or get your own sports agent business established.
- Attract clients to you by demonstrating that you are enthusiastic, qualified and ready to give your athletes the kind of attention and care that they might not find with a large sports management company.
- Start small. If you are on your own, approach athletes just beginning their careers, coming out of the NCAA program or participants in smaller sports. Heading for the NFL draft as an unknown agent is not the best way to start your business.
- Get certified.If you want to be an agent for professional athletes, most organizations such as the MLB, NFL and NHL will require you to be certified as an agent.
- Earn your credentials by having a client in the major leagues identify you as his or her agent, completing an application with the organization and agreeing to all rules and regulations covering agents.
- Set your rates.Most agents earn from 4 percent to 10 percent of their client's contract. Other agents have an hourly fee or work for a flat rate.
- Prepare to be available for your clients around the clock. Sports agents do not work 9 to 5. You will need to work on weekends, in the evenings and even on holidays.
- Consider taking an online course if you are interested in switching careers and becoming a sports agent. There are several opportunities online.