How to Become a
Sports Agent

Agent standing next to an athlete being interviewed

Are you interested in a career as a Sports Agent? You came to the right place. This guide is packed with information and resources for becoming a Sports Agent. Learn about educational requirements for the job, what the position pays and more.

What Does a Sports Agent Do?

Sports agents provide a wide range of services to amateur and professional athletes, including contract negotiation, financial management, career development, and public relations. Many Sports Agents are self-employed, while other work for agencies. Some common Sports Agent duties and responsibilities include:

  • Representing athletes in contract negotiations by vetting proposed agreements.

  • Interacting with team owners and managers to ensure their clients receive maximum compensation and favorable terms.

  • Seeking new income opportunities, such as product endorsement deals, for their clients.

  • Scouting teams and marketing their clients to them.

Sports Agent Skills

Given the diverse set of tasks they handle, Sports Agents must have a broad skillset. Sports Agents often fill the roles of legal representative, business manager and promoter, among others. The must be self-motivated communicators, shrewd negotiators and ethical businesspeople who are willing to work hard for uncertain rewards.

Some other key Sports Agent skills include:

  • In-depth understanding of relevant sports and leagues

  • Advanced analytical and problem-solving ability

  • Ability to multi-task

  • Marketing and branding

How Do You Become a Sports Agent?

Education and Training

In general, there are no specific educational requirements for Sports Agents. However, many people who enter the field have degrees in law, business administrating, marketing or public relations. Some schools offer either undergraduate or graduate programs for sports management.

Some states require Sports Agents to apply for and receive a license before they start representing athletes. And some leagues, such as the National Football League, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association, require agents to be certified. That process might include meeting minimum education standards, paying a fee and passing a test and background check.

Agent Certification Requirements by League

Finding a Job

Demand for Sports Agents, categorized as Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers and Athletes, is expected to increase 3 percent per year through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The below-average growth (when compared to overall job growth in the United States) will result in 680 annual openings, per the BLS.

Any successful job search begins with crafting a high-quality resume that highlights your skills and experience. For guidance on creating a resume, take a look at JobHero's library of Sports Agent resume samples.

In the U.S., there are hundreds of agencies that represent athletes at all levels. These range from large agencies that are active in several sports and leagues to small boutique firms that tend to focus on a specific area within the sporting world. Anyone interested in a career as a Sports Agent should do some research into agencies and see what opportunities might be available, such as entry level positions and internships. You can also search Sports Agent job listings online.

Another path to becoming a Sports Agent is to go it alone. Self-employed sports agents take it upon themselves to scout talent, often at the college, amateur or semi-professional level, and convince athletes to sign on with them.

Insights from a Sports Agent

Sports Agents really have a dream job. But if you are still not conviced in the next section you can get a more personal look into the daily life of a Sports Agent and their thoughts on the profession.

What should someone consider before becoming a Sports Agent?

As a Sports Agent traveling is not something you can run away from if you plan to be a good one of course. It's a hustle all the time. Some Sports Agents make really good money and some do not and it is all up to you. A good idea would be to be a sports agent for a sport you love. If you have prior experience in the sport you will know what you are looking for. Apart from that Sports Agents sometimes handle the financials of professional players and this can be stressful at times because you are also talking with potential sponsors, handling their social media, signing contracts and it can be a little overwhelming.

What is the common career path for a Sports Agent?

While there isn't a specific career path for Sports Agents or at least there isn't one in the modern school system it's still a good idea to attend an undergraduate program in marketing, law or sports management. The courses offered in these programs can give you a fundamental idea of how to do your job in the best possible way along with experience and actually having some background knowledge of the sport you wish to represent.

What type of person excels in this job?

A good Sports Agent is one who is organized and determined to make whoever they are representing stand out. Someone who actually cares about the individual he is representing. Usually, the best representative is the one who has always been around the person he is representing and has had a meaningful relationship with the person.

What are some of the most important skills for Sports Agents have?

A Sports Agent is responsible for the business aspect of the person they are representing. So a good understanding of how business works would be a good place to start. During meetings with potential sponsors or stakeholders having good effective communication skills can help you manage peoples perceptions and emotions about your client and can be a tool used to persuade people and be in their good interest.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Sports Agent?

One of the most rewarding aspects of this industry is seeing how you can change a person's life. Being the turning point of someone's dreams turned into reality is really something special. Especially when you really love the sport.

How Much Do Sports Agents Get Paid?

For compensation, Sports Agents typically receive a percentage of the contract amount earned by the athletes they represent, often between 5 and 10 percent. They may also receive a percentage of other income the athletes earn, such as proceeds from endorsement deals. Entry-level agents, who often assist more seasoned agents and work within an agencies existing portfolio of athletes, may earn a set annual salary.

While the amount a Sports Agents can earn varies drastically based on the aforementioned factors, the BLS reports that the median wage is $64,200 per year. The lowest paid Sports Agents make $27,600 annually, while the highest paid make in excess of $187,000.

Top 10 States for Sports Agent Salary

Sports Agents in the following states make the highest median annual wage in the U.S.

    Massachusetts

    $90,400

    California

    $84,500

    Nevada

    $78,100

    New York

    $75,300

    Connecticut

    $69,100

    Pennsylvania

    $66,800

    New Mexico

    $66,700

    Louisiana

    $65,900

    Ohio

    $59,200

    Virginia

    $59,100

    Sports Agent Resources

    We compiled this list of additional resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Sports Agent.

    Sports Agent Websites

    Sports Agent Blog
    This go-to blog provides industry news and insights, including interviews with established Sports Agents.

    Sports Law Blog
    Come here for the latest on sports law and how it affects the business of sports management.

    Sports Media Watch
    This blog provides an overview of media coverage of major sports.

    Sports Agents on Twitter

    @SportsAgentBlog
    This is the official Twitter Account for the Sports Agent Blog.

    @andysimms
    A sports Agent for PlayersRep Sports, Andy Simms tweets industry insights and more.

    Sports Agent Books

    How to Play the Game
    This book is a primer on the niche of sports law as it applies to Sports Agents.

    The Agent: My 40-Year Career Making Deals and Changing the Game
    Famed "super-agent" Leigh Steinberg tells his professional story.

    The Business of Sports Agents
    Experts in sports business, management and law provide an inside look at what being a Sports Agent is all about.