A sports agent is a person who manages all of the business affairs of an athlete; from contracts, endorsements, sponsorships, renewals to even filing their taxes for them. In return for their services they usually receive between 4% and 10% of whatever yearly contract amounts they can arrange for their clients. Most agents start off working for large companies but some of them go about the business alone.
If they do work for a big company, they will find themselves starting at the bottom of the pile in the beginning handling lower ranked clients. But over time as they move up in the company, they can start to handle high profile clients and that way they can receive large salaries every year. There is also a glamorous side to being a sports agent. As they usually become the voice of an athlete, they are increasingly called upon to deal with the media, give interviews and attend press conferences. They have over the years become increasingly seen in the spotlight alongside the athletes they represent.
There are a lot of positive aspects to a sports star being represented by an agent. The role that an agent fills is very broad and they have to be well versed in contractual law, marketing, be business savvy strong negotiators. Unless an athlete is experienced in these topics they will not be able to effectively handle all their business affairs. So most of the time they absolutely need someone who can handle the business side of their sports affairs much better than they themselves would be able to. Some athletes though choose to go about it on their own but inadvertently they find that they are not able to get as many endorsements, sponsorships and the large deals that an agent would be able to get them.
In the past, athletes would hire their fathers or friends to become their agents and the result was that because most of the time these people did not have the professional experience that a proper agent has, the athletes would get much lower salaries and contract deals at the end of the day. This was not always the case though, because sometimes an associate or family member would turn out to be a brilliant negotiator but the all round experience and skills of an agent cannot be matched by an inexperienced person.
There are a few drawbacks to athletes hiring agents as well. Sometimes an agent will not work in the best interest of the athlete and will only try to further their own career and earn as much money as they can. Also sometimes an agent can be dodgy and give an athlete the wrong advice to again increase his or her own percentage amount. Poor contracts, illegal deals and other pitfalls can be experienced by an athlete because of a bad agent. One way around this is for an athlete to always hire an agent from a major sports agency that represents many other athletes and has a solid track record for giving the best service to sports stars. An agent working for a company will always have someone to report back to and answer to if something goes wrong.
With the salaries of athletes reaching an all time high, we will see many agents coming out of the woodwork to represent them. We will also see a lot of super agents arriving that represent many high profile clients and become stars themselves in the process. At the end of the day, an agent is a very important asset for an athlete but they have to be careful in hiring a credible and reputable one to handle their affairs.