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10 Tips to Choose Between Sports Agent Firms
Is the agent or agency hiring you registered to practice as an agent or agency in your state?
For the NFL, sports agent companies must be registered with the National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA) to negotiate a contract for a player. The Uniform Athlete Agents Act, or UAAA, is a state law currently recognized by 40 states (as of April 2011), in addition to Washington D.C. and the US Virgin Islands, which regulates the recruiting actions of agents.
The purpose of the law is to standardize the way sports agent companies recruit and communicate with potential clients. Part of the law requires sports agents to register in each state from which they choose to recruit athletes.
If you are in a state where UAAA is not recognized, ask them if they are registered in that particular state (if any). If you are already a professional athlete, the potential agent(s) do not have to register with your state.
Have you ever been disbarred, suspended or disciplined as an attorney or agent?
While bad things sometimes happen to good people, it’s good to know if the sports agent company you’re considering has ever been sanctioned, suspended, or disbarred (in case they’re also a lawyer). Research the attorney or agent and don’t hesitate to contribute what you learn. There may be a good explanation of what happened, but it’s important that you are comfortable with them and their background.
What is your rate? Is your rate negotiable? How and when do you bill me for your services?
Do you provide any type of annual statement to your customers?
Sports agent companies normally charge a percentage of the value of the contract they negotiate on behalf of the players. Often these fees are capped. For example, in the NFL (National Football League) and UFL (United Football League), these fees are capped at 3%, which means that agent commissions cannot exceed 3% of the total value of the negotiated contract. .
Even so, you can request to pay the agent on an hourly rate, if agreed. Ray Allen, now of the Boston Celtics (NBA), is said to have saved over $2.8 million by paying Johnny Cochran $500 an hour instead of paying a 4% commission in 1999 when he was trading his own contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Regarding sports training, who do you work with? Who have they prepared for the Combine in the past? Who pays for my training?
These days, sports agent companies typically foot the bill for combine prep training and professional day for surefire draft picks. Some athletes choose to stay in school and train for these events, while others prefer to go to a remote location to train.
It is important to make sure that you and your potential representatives clearly understand where you are training, who is training you and how much it will cost, as well as whether any associated costs are your own financial responsibility.
Your career is at stake, so it is essential that you find out about the experience and background of the entity where you will be trained.
What type of financial services do you offer? Do you receive referral fees from the financial advisor you recommend? Can I use my own financial planner or accountant?
Sports agent companies sometimes receive bribes or commissions for referring clients to specific financial advisers. This practice should obviously raise concerns as to whether or not the agency refers this financial advisor because of his performance and the quality of his services.
Ask them if they recommend a financial advisor. If they do, investigate their background. If you discover any red flags, raise your concerns with the agency or agent to see what they say. Sports agent companies that recommend financial advisers with questionable backgrounds should not necessarily be disqualified, as they are (or should be) two separate entities. It is also possible that they themselves do not know about the offenses or that there is a good explanation behind what you found, unless it is criminal activity.
When interviewing potential financial advisors, find out what they think of you by employing risk managers to assess the level of risk associated with their recommended investments. If your best interest is their real concern, they should have no problem with you asking a third party to review their recommendations. Financial advisors who represent NFL players must register with the NFLPA, just like agents.
NOTE: Never choose a financial adviser or sports agent firms just because they are heavily recruiting you! Find the one that suits you best.
How many clients do you currently have? How do you plan to meet my needs while dealing with your other customers?
The number of current clients that sports agent firms may have varies considerably. You need to make sure you are comfortable with the amount of clientele they currently have and will have in the near future. This information can be helpful in determining how much attention and time they can devote to your career.
Conversely, large sports agent companies have the infrastructure to continue to provide quality time and attention to individual clients. So be sure to find out about their business structure in this regard.
If for some reason I’m not drafted, how can you help me increase my chances of making a team?
Unfortunately, every year the outlook fails to be written as expected. There are also players who were meant to be undrafted free agents who end up not being drafted. Experienced sports agent companies will work with you to create an action plan to assess worst-case scenarios.
Ask what kind of plan they would put in place to assess a situation where you weren’t drafted, or where you ended up getting undrafted free agent offers if you were expecting to be drafted.
Ask if situations like this have happened in the past and how they handled them.
What are your strategies regarding sponsorship deals for a player like me?
Endorsement deals are much harder to come by in professional football today than in years past. The best ones are reserved for star quarterbacks, especially those who play in big cities. Marketing opportunities for medium players in small markets are very rare.
How much weight you place on a sports agent company’s experience with client endorsements is up to you, but it’s wise to consider their rarity when judging sports agent companies.
How can you help me earn extra money from other opportunities?
Even though endorsements are rare, the opportunities are always there. The main factor in finding these opportunities is superior performance on the pitch, but there are other factors, such as image and accessibility, that will increase your chances.
The best sports agent companies have resources, internal or external, that help clients maximize their public appeal through community service, free public speaking opportunities, social media strategies, interviews and interviews. other opportunities to make yourself accessible, enjoyable and memorable in the public eye.
How can you help me prepare for life after sport, in addition to having good financial management? Which other clients have you helped in their post-career?
Post-career support and guidance is a fairly standard offering with sports agent companies today. The key is whether or not you are ready to listen and follow the advice provided. It’s one thing to say you’ll listen and be smart with your money, but it’s a whole other reality when you start getting those huge checks. Ask the 75% of former NFL players who are broke within 3-5 years of leaving the NFL.
For more tips and advice to help you become an informed and intelligent professional football player (on and off the pitch, visit Get 2 The League today!
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