Job Profile: Sports Agent

sports agent salary

What Does a Sports Agent Do and What is a Sports Agent Salary?

People do not have to be the next Jerry Maguire to have a successful career as a sports agent. Agents likely will not be yelling, “Show me the money!” in their office. They will likely be negotiating some pretty hefty deals. These deals could make or break an athlete’s career. Agents help athletes wade through contracts that decide:

  • for what teams they will play
  • where they will relocate
  • any sponsorships and endorsements they might receive

Agents have to have a shrewd grasp on the business of sports. A sports agent needs to be up to date on the deals other players are receiving, as well. It does not benefit their client if the a sports agent does not know what kinds of contracts other athletes of similar abilities are getting. Agents interact with:

  • other agents
  • athletes
  • high profile coaches
  • team owners

A sports agent navigates the field and try to score their client with the best deal available to them.

Salary of a Sports Agent

How much do sport agents make a year? The saying goes “You don’t get paid until your athlete gets paid” because the job is commission based. The average salaries of sports agents is about $110,000 annually but a sports agent salary can well exceed $500,000 a year depending on how high up the clients are. A sports management salary NFL style would typically be on the higher end of that scale. The NFL agent salary could even break the $1,000,000 mark. There is a wide range for salaries of sports agents. You can learn more about sports agent salary 2015 in this article from Forbes. Knowing the salary of sports agents and other information can help you make a decision for your future.

Beginning Sports Agent Salary

The average starting sports agent salary entry level is around $56,000 annually. A sports agents salary can also depend on location and client base. 

You can learn more about a sports promoters salary here: Job Profile: Sports Promoter

Key Responsibilities

Sports agents are sort of a jack of all trades for their clients. A sports agent can act as:

  • advisor
  • mentor
  • friend
  • lawyer

A professional athlete has a limited timeframe for their career. It is their agent’s responsibility to get the most bang for their buck, so to speak. They need to find the best:

  • contract deals
  • salary
  • terms

This will advance their client’s career as far as it can go. It will help them remain solvent even when they are retired at a relatively young age.

Necessary Skills

Obviously the most important skill required of a successful sports agent is to have excellent negotiation skills. The athletes require an agent who can swiftly negotiate a heavy duty deal to get them on the field as soon as possible. The ability to promote a client is also crucial. The athlete is dependent on their agent to advertise them to various teams or endorsement deals. They need to sell their athlete to a variety of teams to squeeze the best deal out of whoever wants them the most.

Degree and Education Requirements

The first step to take in becoming a sports agent is to get a relevant college degree. Most high profile sports agents begin their career by getting a bachelor’s degree in sports management. This degree path combines exercise sciences with business classes. It is not unusual for colleges to require coursework in things like:

  • kinesiology
  • finances
  • accounting

Next, it is usually wise to progress to a graduate degree. This can be an upper level degree in sports management. Most sports agents decide to get a law degree. Having a degree in law can help make the navigation of contracts much easier. Some agents will hire out lawyers to read through contracts for them. The job is much easier to not have to do that. It is not unusual for a sports agent to also act as a lawyer for athletes who may have gotten themselves into some legal trouble. Increased education can make the sports management salary increase as well.

Challenges of Being a Sports Agent

Obviously, the biggest challenge in this field is finding clients. The best money comes from clients who are good enough to enter the professional leagues. Finding a client who actually gets there can be very difficult. Another challenge is difficult clients. It is no secret that some athletes get into a lot of legal trouble. It is up to their agent to decide if they want to help them through the troubles.  They also need to decide if they are willing to work closely with someone who has had some unethical behavior. Obviously, this behavior can void their contract, too.

Rewards of Being a Sports Agent

The rewarding part of this career are the contacts an agent makes in the field. Even when their clients are long gone, the high profile contacts they have made can be great for career advancements or even tickets to the World Series.

Getting Started

Once the college degrees are in place, the next step is getting any necessary licenses or registrations. There is no national governing body for sports agents. It varies state by state. New graduates should check their state’s licensing requirements. They should find out where to get the necessary documentation. Licensing will require fees and perhaps even exams. Most states require a background check to eliminate any criminals trying to swindle the very well paid athletes. The last thing the athletic world needs is sports agents who are actually con artists that end up stealing from their clients in the form of shady contracts and bum negotiations. Once all of the state’s licensing requirements are in place, the next step is deciding whether to work individually or with an established firm. Most novice agents do best working with a well known firm to build their career. This gives them an extra edge and some well-guided mentoring.

Future Outlook

With a booming sports industry, the overall future outlook for sports agents is looking promising. More athletes are making deals outside of their teams. They are seeking various endorsements and sponsorships that require the guidance of an experienced sports agent with a law background. Big brands like Under Armour and Nike are always on the hunt for a high profile athlete to help advertise their brand and products. An agent is necessary to make these deals mutually beneficial to both parties. That also means that these types of businesses need sports agents who have a background working with athletes and negotiating contracts. This will help them nab the athletes they need for their advertising. Private law offices also love to hire sports agents to expand their clientele and hopefully wind up with clients who have some clout.


Being a sports agent can seem less like a job and more like an adventure. Not only do agents get to work with famous people, they also get the opportunities to immerse themselves in one of the biggest money making industries in the entire world.  A career as a sports agent can set people up for a lifetime of contacts that can only stand to serve them well.

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