Sports agent

A sports agent is a legal representative (hence agent) for professional sports figures such as athletes and coaches. They procure and negotiate employment and endorsement contracts for the athlete or coach whom they represent.


Because of the unique characteristics of the sports industry, sports agents are responsible for communications with team owners, managers, and other individuals. Also, they are responsible for making recommendations. In addition to finding income sources, agents often handle public relations matters for their clients. In some large sports agencies, such as IMG, Creative Artists Agency, Roc Nation Sports and Octagon, agents deal with all aspects of a client's finances, from investment to filing taxes.

Sports agents may be relied upon by their clients for guidance in all business aspects, and sometimes even more broadly. For example, hockey agents start recruiting clients as young as 15, allowing the agent to guide the athlete's career before the NHL draft, which happens usually at 18 years of age.

Due to the length and complexity of contracts, many sports agents are lawyers or have a background in contract law. Agents are expected to be knowledgeable about finance, business management, and financial and risk analysis, as well as sports. It is important for a sports agent to follow trends in sports. Other skills an agent must possess are excellent communication and negotiation skills. Agents must be highly motivated, willing to work long hours, and capable of multitasking. It is very common for agents to be in negotiations on behalf of several clients at one time.[1]

Some agents are part of large companies, and some are on their own.[2] The number of clients an individual agent can handle and how many clients his or her employing agency can handle in total are interdependent variables.

Before the 1990s, most football players did not use agents. In some cases, they used their parents as agents. Because of most parents' naivety about the football business, these young footballers were often given less-than-stellar contracts by football clubs, which yielded lower salaries than they thought they deserved.[3] In Sweden, there were only three licensed agents in 1995.[4] As of 2002, there were 33. According to FIFA, there were 5,187 licensed association football agents worldwide, with 600 agents in Italy alone.[5] Since 2001, agents have not been licensed by FIFA. Instead, agents are now licensed directly by each association.

Sports agents generally receive between 4 and 15% of the athlete's playing contract, and 10 to 20% of the athlete's endorsement contract, although these figures vary. NFL agents are not permitted to receive more than 3%, and NBA agents not more than 4%, of their client's playing contracts.

Media depictionsEdit

Films such as Jerry Maguire, Two for the Money, and Any Given Sunday depicted sports agents. In England, ITV's Footballers' Wives included a female agent Hazel Bailey. The television show Ballers, which started in 2015, also shows a strong depiction of sports agents.

Notable sports agentsEdit

American footballEdit

Football agent Drew Rosenhaus
Football agent Leigh Steinberg

Australian footballEdit




European basketballEdit

Association footballEdit


Ice hockeyEdit



Notable former sports agentsEdit

Sports agency groupsEdit

There have been some efforts to transform the sports agency business from an individual, entrepreneurial business, to more of a corporate structure. These experiments met with varying degrees of longevity and success.

Formerly active agenciesEdit

Some sports agency firms were once prominent, but are now gone or reorganized:

  • Assante Corporation – Canadian public company that acquired the Steinberg, Moorad & Dunn agency, then acquired other than agencies including Dan Fegan & Associates and Maximum Sports Management in an unsuccessful effort to build multi-sport corporate agency.[50]
  • SFX Entertainment (now Live Nation, a publicly traded company) – in 1998 SFX agreed to pay up to $150 million in cash, stock, and bonuses for F.A.M.E., the sports agency run by David Falk, the agent for basketball players Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing. SFX also acquired two other major sports agencies, Arn Tellem's agency (Tellem & Associates) and the baseball-oriented firm run by Randy Hendricks and Allan Hendricks.[51] SFX would later reverse course, and sell off the pieces of its large sports agency business.
  • Steinberg, Moorad & Dunn ("SMD") – a multi-sport agency sold in October 1999 for reported $120 million to Canadian financial firm. Defections of principals, and litigation, followed. Originally led by entrepreneurial agents Leigh Steinberg and Jeff Moorad.[52]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Job Archived January 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine – description of roles of sports agent and some educational programs to prepare for the field
  2. ^ An Industry Of Conglomerates Sports Agent Blog, July 16, 2007
  3. ^ "The Big Interview: Neil Webb" Sunday Times, November 28, 2004, interview with soccer/football player
  4. ^ "Market Saturation of Agents" Archived August 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, May 23, 2002, note: source can be translated into English on the website
  5. ^ [ FIFA – Players' agents list – by country]
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  7. ^ "Authentic Athletix Clients". Archived from the original on July 9, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  8. ^ Meisel, Barry (April 28, 1996). "Toomer Catches Fancy of Giants". New York Daily News.
  9. ^ Butler, Steve (March 3, 2008); Show me the money, Ricky Nixon;; Retrieved on March 14, 2009
  10. ^ "Agent says Boras' group 'stalking' his client – MLB – ESPN". May 1, 2006. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  11. ^ Nicholson, Ben (December 23, 2010). "Nationals Sign Sean Burnett To Two-Year Extension". Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  12. ^ McGrath, Ben (August 1, 2011). "Tampa Bay Ray's Late Bloomer Super Sam Fuld". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  13. ^ "Interview with Matt Sosnick"
  14. ^ Gus Lubin (November 29, 2010). "The 12 Best Sports Agents in the World". Business Insider. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  15. ^ "Agents again at forefront of NBA labor dispute", CNN/SI, December 28, 1998, accessed June 16, 2007.
  16. ^ Migala, Dan. "Career Spotlight: David Falk",, June 4, 2001, accessed June 30, 2007.
  17. ^ Janowitz, Neil (March 9, 2012). "After Backing a Dark Horse, Lin's Agent Is Riding High". The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  18. ^ "#9 Rob Pelinka". Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  19. ^ Megargee, Steve (June 7, 2019). "Penicheiro's new career has Hall of Famer focusing on future". Yahoo Sports. Associated Press. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  20. ^ " Agents". Retrieved May 8, 2008.
  21. ^ Nets Star Has Deal to Play in Turkey;The New York Times, July 7, 2011
  22. ^ Perry, Michael (May 3, 1999). "Agents court Xavier star Posey". The Cincinnati Enquirer.
  23. ^ Bremer still leading the way in Europe Olean Times Herald
  24. ^ [1] ESPN. Evan Alexander Demiriel. Retrieved July 23, 2011
  25. ^ a b Belzer, Jason (September 25, 2017). "The World's Most Powerful Sports Agents 2017". Forbes. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  26. ^ Top 10 most influential football agents – Pere Guardiola, Pini Zahavi, Jorge Mendes, Paul Stretford, Mino Riaola | Metro News
  27. ^ Derbyshiretimes: "Loyalty and trust are hard to find in football' – Chesterfield hero Kevin Davies launches new business"
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  29. ^ "How Tiger's Top Man is Managing the Crisis". The Wall Street Journal. December 8, 2009.
  30. ^ Reilly, Rick (June 23, 2011). "Golf's new era is here". ESPN. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  31. ^ Tait, Alistair (October 21, 2011). "McIlroy leaves Chandler's ISM for Horizon Sports". Golfweek. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  32. ^ – Features[permanent dead link]
  33. ^ Michael Barnett Archived October 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ "Top 10 Sports Agents -Ask
  35. ^ "Octagon Sports – Hockey – Team Bios – Allan Walsh". Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  36. ^ "From The Executive Editor: The education of Peter Carlisle". Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  37. ^ "Colleen Howe, 'Mrs. Hockey', dies at 76". Associated Press. March 6, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2009.[dead link]
  38. ^ "Mino Raiola, one of football's most powerful agents, dies aged 54". The Observer. April 30, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  39. ^ "Serie A international rights snapped up by Infront for '€139m a year'". SportsPro Media. April 6, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  40. ^ Harig, Bob (July 17, 2011). "Darren Clarke returns in major triumph". ESPN. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
  41. ^ "Former No. 1 draft pick Kwame Brown might be looking to make an NBA comeback". Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  42. ^ "Interperformances Expands in United States". Archived from the original on April 25, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  43. ^ "Jay-Z Launches Roc Nation Sports Teams With CAA to Co-Represent Robinson Cano". Variety. April 2, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  44. ^ "So finden kleine Sportvereine Sponsoren". FAZ. February 24, 2019. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  45. ^ "Sponsoo Closes €1.4m Series A Financing". November 21, 2020. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  46. ^ "Our Mission and Values". Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  47. ^ "Good, profitable sports". Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  48. ^ "Wasserman Acquires Tellem Business; SFX Promotes Pelinka". Sports Business Daily. January 27, 2006. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  49. ^ The business of sports | Dhaka Tribune
  50. ^ "These Drafts Come and Go, and So Do Agents' Fortunes" The New York Times, April 28, 2003
  51. ^ "Steinberg Sells Sports Firm". The New York Times. October 28, 1999. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  52. ^ "Crash Landing"- ESPN, by Peter Keating, article about Leigh Steinberg

Further readingEdit