Written by: Auldrin Julies
“Show me the money”, a phrase that resonates in the mind of every person when you hear the name Jerry McGuire. In an industry where fame and fortune rules, we often forget about those who work tirelessly in the background to make it all happen. So many athletes and sport stars across the globe are successful because they have had a fundamental element in their careers – that of guidance in the form of a sports agent. On the opposite side of the coin, many elite athletes and sports stars missed out on being carved into history because they lacked that same fundamental element.
While the majority of people never realize their dreams of becoming a professional athlete, many decide to pursue the next best option- representing them as a sports agent (John Belzer, 2014). We are in an era where job creation is key and we see more and more individuals that studied sport being lost, not just to other industries but also to the harsh reality of “unemployment”. Where can we as sport management alumni start thinking out of the box and create our own success and control our destinies? According to Shropshire, Davis and Duru (2003), The business of Sport Agents examines one of the most intriguing professions to have developed in the sports world as sport has become not merely entertainment but big business. Let’s begin by understanding the term Sport Agent. The legally correct name for an individual that represents the athlete is “athlete agent,” not “sports agent.” (Shropshire, Davis and Duru, 2003). Reason being that you represent the athlete and not the sport. The term “sports agent,” however, has developed as probably the most commonly recognised and accepted label, so the terms “athlete agent,” sports agent,” and “agent” are used interchangeably throughout. (Shropshire, Davis and Duru, 2003).
As managers within the industry we need to start seeing the potential opportunities that exist within talent identification and representation. The process of becoming an “athlete agent” is laid out by most sports federations. Although the process can be strenuous to start off with, the results can be unmeasurable. We have, are, and will still see many individuals with so much potential become unknown simply because we neglected to identify their unique talent. Countries/Federations invest large amounts of money in the development of sport and require industry experts such as ourselves to make sure the end result of the investment produces remarkable talent. Talent that receives appropriate guidance.
In the end we must strive to become better than our predecessors and not merely repeat the process. It all starts with an idea, an idea on how we can become better. Make no mistake, the life of a sports agent may not be as glamorous as projected in Hollywood blockbusters and requires a 24/7 effort to not only become the best but to remain at top. If you really love this industry, fame and fortune should not be the only aim. Making a difference and contributing to the success of a young sports individuals should be a non-negotiable factor that drives us.
- Jason Belzer, “The world’s most powerful sports agents,” Forbes, November 4, 2014, [Accessed: October 30, 2017],https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonbelzer/2014/11/04/the-worlds-most-powerful-sports-agents-2014/#e8a1c3648184.
- Stropshire, K., Davis, T. & Duru, N. 2003. The Business of Sports Agents, Third edition [Online]. University of Pennsylvania Press. [Accessed: October 30, 2017] Available from: https://books.google.co.za/books?id=roLJCwAAQBAJ&pg=PT24&lpg=PT24&dq=defining+athlete+representation&source=bl&ots=5JVDFV7g2A&sig=ZYZaQ5p0_aKiykbFUVlhTqOi3FA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjhm8Wn-ZfXAhVpK8AKHf2qC9oQ6AEIVzAH#v=onepage&q=defining%20athlete%20representation&f=false
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