Athletes rely on sports agents to negotiate their contracts. Such contracts could be between athletes and endorsers or between athletes and sports teams. Apart from negotiating contracts, sports agents also work to promote the values of their athletes and find them endorsement deals. It is not mandatory for a sports agent to hold a degree, due to the competitive nature of the business; many sports managers hold graduate or law degrees. Degrees in sports management are held by aspiring sports managers. Sports managers are required to satisfy licensure norms in many states. Employers of sports managers often expect candidates to have sales experience. Sports managers need strong communication skills both verbal and written, apart from knowledge of league rules and understanding of contracts (sources: Job listings (September 2012), Various state licensing authorities, SouthSource, November 2011, University of Minnesota, Career Services). In this article, we will discuss a stage-wise schedule that sports managers can adhere to in order to purse their career.
Stage One: Earning a Bachelor Degree
Completing a degree program in sports management will be a valuable step for prospective sports managers to take. Coursework typically combines curricula related to exercise science and business. Other recommended areas of specialization are kinesiology, business law, finance and sports marketing. An internship is a mandatory part of some courses. Some schools offer sports management degree programs through their exercise science or kinesiology department. A business school may also offer the program. Strong communication skills are tremendously crucial for sports agents who will communicate the value of their athletes to charities, corporations and sports teams. They can participate in public speaking groups or enroll in speech courses. An internship program with a sports management agency would be beneficial to a prospective sports agent. Sales experience will be extremely useful as a potential candidate could hone his/her persuasive speaking skills from such experience.
Stage Two: Becoming Registered or Licensed
Several states such as Florida, Georgia and New York want sports agents to become registered or licensed. There is no formal board, which governs this process across the nation, so the different requirements can vary by states. Usually, aspiring agents are required to submit to a background check, apart from submitting an application and paying application fees, if any.
Stage Three: Completing a Graduate Degree Program
Enrolling into a law school is an option that aspiring sports agents can consider. The program will help with reading and negotiating legal contracts. However, law degree is not a necessary requirement and sports agents can seek to complete a master degree program relating to sports management; for instance, a graduate degree program in business administration. The degree program will teach students about the sports industry including developing a brand for players and about intellectual property rights and salary caps in the field. An internship could also be part of such programs.