SPORTS CONTRACT AGENT OR SPORTS MARKETING AGENT?
Know the difference!
A sports contract agent is going to cut your deal to play in the NFL, NBA, NHL etc. so they need to have a deep knowledge of/experience with the game. A sports marketing agent is going to create sponsorships and endorsement deals. Which are you looking for?
Many contract agents also claim to be marketing agents but my experience is that not many are good at both. Really this is a logical, dollars/cents issue. A contract agent will make a percentage of a pro player contract deal. These are typically lucrative deals, so the agent is making a percentage of that, which translates to a nice junk of change. That agent might then, and often does, want to do the players shoe deal, which is typically a players biggest endorsement contract/sponsorship. The dollar amount for a shoe deal is usually much less than the player contract, but, while never actually easy, this is the low-hanging-fruit of sponsorship deals to be had. With the player contract and shoe deal in place, after that the subsequent endorsements deals get harder to find and are most often for less money. For the contract agent, the more logical place to put his/her time and effort is into finding the next star player to represent so as to cut that player’s contract deal. The bottom line is that they make more money doing player deals than they do chasing sponsorship deals.
The sports marketing agent’s expertise is specifically in creating sponsorship and endorsement deals. These sponsorships will be either endemic (specifically related to the athlete’s particular sport) or non-endemic (endorsements with companies whose products/services have nothing to do with the sport). I believe this latter category is the true muster of a sports marketing agent as quite frankly, these deals are harder to get. I’ll talk more about endemic vs. non-endemic in a future post. For now, understanding what different types of agents do is a starting point and because of these differences it’s not at all uncommon for athletes to have a contract agent and a marketing agent. Know what you’re looking for.