Sports Agents, unlike athletes, don’t need to worry about keeping their fans happy, the risk of injury or other challenges associated with playing professional sports. However, they still get to be a part of the fast paced, glamorous world of elite professional sports. If you have a good business acumen and a love for sports, you can surely consider a career as a professional sports agent.
The main job of a professional sports agent is contract negotiation that decides how much money will be made by the players the agent represent. Sports agents basically represent athletes for professional negotiations for endorsements, salaries, contracts, appearances and other agreements. They also work to promote the abilities, career, and image of the athletes and earn commissions, a percentage of the contract amount negotiated.
A misconception about sports agent salary is that it is dependent solely upon the negotiations of player contracts. The truth is that it is possible to build the salary in various ways by providing a range of services that include financial planning, endorsement opportunities, and personal appearances. Over the last two decades, there has been a dramatic increase in athlete endorsements and marketing contracts and this has taken the sports agent industry to new levels and sports agents have complete control over their salary.
Over the last two decades, there has been a dramatic increase in athlete endorsements and marketing contracts and this has taken the sports agent industry to new levels and sports agents have complete control over their salary.
What Does A Sports Agent Do?
Sports agents perform a wide range of functions for an athlete. They can work as a manager, accountant, coach, teacher, lawyer and even a close friend or confidant, and on days when they aren’t dabbling for their clients, they work as specialists negotiating high stake deals and contracts on behalf of their clients.
The primary job of a sports agent is contract negotiation for the players. There are two main types of contracts an agent negotiates for. The first is the playing contract, the one between the sports team and the player. Such contracts span for a number of years and contain clauses with regards to a player’s performance, behavior, conduct and special situations such as injuries, divorce, and illnesses.
The other type of contract is the endorsement contract which exists between a brand and the player. A brand selects a player best fit for their product or service and compensates the player based on the number of campaigns, duration, and appearances. This differs based on the brand and type of contract.
A sports agent adds the most value working as a talent scout, looking for young talented players who they can recruit, train and mentor, helping young athletes showcase their talent on a bigger stage and making the most financially for their skills. This is often a win-win partnership in the sports world.
The commission percentage charged by a sports agent varies based on many factors. Depending on the sport represented, the salary of a sports agent varies greatly. Basically, a sports agent gets 4 to 10 percent of playing contract of his client.
However, some leagues impose limits on the percentage of the commission charged by sports agents. For instance, the National Football League does not allow sports agents to earn more than 3 percent of the player salaries. The same limit is placed by the National Basketball Association too.
The salary of a sports agent depends greatly on the average salaries of the players he or she represents. Due to salary caps, the highest paid athletes don’t have the highest-paid sports agents. NFL players have salaries ranging from $375,000 to $20 million and this implies that their sports agents can earn $11,250-$600,000 for a player.
There is no commission limit in MLB and a player makes $400,000 to $32 million per contract, meaning a sports agent can earn an amount ranging from $16,000 to $4 million.
According to the reports of the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of sports agents was $96,120 in 2012. However, average sports agents salary varies greatly by location. The highest earning players in the industry mostly live in Texas, California and the Northeast while the lowest earning agents come from the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast.
The prestige, strength, and status of regional sports team lead to the differences in earnings. For example, the highest earning sports agents live in the state of California which hosts the sixth most powerful sports team in the world, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The main responsibility of a sports agent is to find, negotiate and secure endorsement contracts for the athletes. The sports agent generally earns a commission of 10 to 20 percent of this contract for his client. However, the exact amount depends on the type of contract and type of sport. For instance, agents can earn 15 percent commission for a shoe company endorsement and for all endorsement contracts apart from this primary deal, the agent gets 20 percent commission.
A sports agent can also earn from meetings and appearances by charging 10 to 20 percent of the player’s earnings.