Your dreams of being an all-star professional athlete have been dashed – maybe long ago. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up working in sports for good. The sports industry is massive: Hundreds of millions of professionals around the world devote their careers to sports, through journalism, event planning, athlete and team management, coaching, data and statistics and more. In fact, more than half of the entire industry is sales.
One of the most enticing non-athletic careers for those devoted to sports is sports management. Sports managers operate the business side of teams, leagues and associations, making sure that everything behind the scenes is right so the athletes can shine. Often, sports managers are involved in creating teams, balancing budgets, crafting marketing campaigns and organizing schedules. Most athletic successes are due as much to the hard work of sports managers as they are to the athletes themselves.
Perhaps the most lucrative way to work as a sports manager is by forming your own sports agency. What does that mean, and how can you do it? Read on to find out.
What a Sports Agency Does
Sports agents represent athletes during contractual agreements. Therefore, it follows that sports agencies transact deals between athletes and teams, sponsors, endorsement companies and any other group that wishes to contract the athletes’ services. For this effort, agents are given a pre-determined percentage of the earnings from those contracts, which can be exceedingly lucrative considering the million-dollar price tags assigned to some major athletes.
Contrary to popular belief, no credentials are mandatory to launch a sports agency; unlike lawyers and law firms, agents and agencies can begin offering services without any specific education or licensing. Still, it is a good idea to get some training in certain business and sports fields, so you know how to best serve your athlete clients. That’s why you should become a sports manager before you open your own sports agency.
How to Become a Sports Manager
Fortunately, the path into the sports management career is well-paved, meaning it isn’t difficult to find the right education and experience fast. First, you need plenty of experience with sports, either as an athlete or functioning as an administrator in some capacity. Then, you should have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, like business administration. These will form the foundation of your knowledge as you hone your sports management skill.
After graduating undergrad, you should begin pursuing internships within the sports industry. During this time, it would also be wise to apply to online sport management master’s programs. Advanced education in this specialization will provide you with the key competencies you’ll need to succeed in this field. Plus, because the program is online, you can continue working in the sports industry, making critical connections that you can use once you begin pursuing sports management positions in earnest – or once you deem it time to build a sports agency of your very own.
How to Build Your Own Agency
Truly, the first step in building your sports agency is all that work you put in beforehand, gaining skills, knowledge and industry contacts. Without this fundamental endeavor, it will be much more difficult to understand your place in the sports industry, make productive decisions for your budding business and grow a clientele of high-performing athletes. Thus, you shouldn’t skip any of the steps toward becoming a sports manager – or else your efforts toward establishing a successful sports agency will be significantly greater.
Next, you should generate a business plan. Your agency, first and foremost, is a business, which means it needs a long-term strategy explaining how it will generate revenue, calculate finances, perform marketing and more. This is where your background in business should come in, but if you lack that, you can use online guides for business plans or rely on a mentor or business partner for this task.
To accumulate a clientele, you should regularly be attending games or meets in your chosen sport. This should familiarize you with the field as it stands – to include players’ strengths and weaknesses and those of your competitors. By being present at sporting events, you can also work on your agency’s visibility and develop a branding strategy that stands out.
Speaking of branding, you should ensure that your agency has an ethos that attracts athletes. To do so, you might consider taking the sports agency exam that pertains to the league in which you will work. Though not required to practice as a sports agent, the exam will lend you professionalism and demonstrate your knowledge and skill in certain arenas.
Becoming a successful, well-known sports agent requires diligence, but more than that, it requires a foundation in sports and sports management. Once you have that, you can go your own way by building a sports agency to call your own.