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10 Tips to Choose Between Sports Agent Firms
Is the agent or agency recruiting 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 Players Association (NFLPA) to negotiate a contract for a player. The Uniformed Agents of Athletes Act, or UAAA, is a state law currently recognized by 40 states (as of April 2011), in addition to Washington DC and the US Virgin Islands, that governs the act of recruiting agents.
The purpose of the law is to create uniformity in the way sports agent firms recruit and communicate with potential clients. Part of the law requires sports agents to register in each state in 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 state (if applicable). If you are already a professional athlete, the potential agent(s) do not need to register in 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 firm you’re considering has ever been disciplined, suspended, or disbarred (in case they’re also lawyers). Research an attorney or agent and feel free to share what you learn. There may be a good explanation for what happened, but it’s important that you feel comfortable with them and their results.
What is your fee? Is your fee negotiable? How and when do you bill me for your services?
Do you provide any kind of annual report to your clients?
Sports agency firms typically charge a percentage of the value of the contract they negotiate on behalf of the player. Often this fee is limited. For example, in the NFL (National Football League) and UFL (United Football League), these fees are capped at 3%, meaning agents’ commissions cannot exceed 3% of the total value of the contract being negotiated.
Even so, you can ask to pay the agent an hourly rate, if agreed. Ray Allen, now of the Boston Celtics (NBA), is said to have saved more than $2.8 million by paying Johnnie Cochran $500 an hour instead of a 4% commission in 1999 when he negotiated his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.
As for athletic training, who do you work with? Who did they prepare for the Combine in the past? Who pays for my training?
These days, sports agent companies usually foot the bill for combines and professional prep workouts for safe picks. Some athletes choose to stay in school and train for these events, while others prefer to travel 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 of the associated fees are your financial responsibility.
Your career is at stake, so it is vital that you research the experience and track record of the entity you will be training with.
What type of financial services do you provide? Do you receive referral fees from the financial advisor you refer? Can I use my financial planner or accountant?
Sports brokerage firms sometimes receive kickbacks or commissions for referring clients to certain financial advisors. This practice should obviously raise concerns about whether the agency is referring that financial advisor because of their performance and quality of service.
Ask if they recommend a financial advisor. If they do, investigate their background. If you spot any red flags, take your concerns to the agency or agent to see what they say. Sports agent firms that recommend financial advisors with dubious track records should not necessarily be disqualified from consideration, as they are (or should be) two separate entities. It is also possible that they themselves were either unaware of the violations, or that there is a good explanation behind what you found, unless it is criminal activity.
When interviewing potential financial advisors, get their views on hiring risk managers to gauge the level of risk involved in their recommended investments. If your best interest is their genuine concern, they should have no problem having their referrals reviewed by a third party. Financial advisors representing NFL players must register with the NFLPA as do agents.
NOTE: Never choose a financial advisor or sports agent firm just because they recruit you a lot! Find the one that’s best for YOU.
How many clients do you currently have? How do you plan to address my needs while working with your other clients?
The number of current clientele that sports agent firms may have varies widely. You need to make sure that you are comfortable with the amount of clientele they currently have and will have in the near future. Such information can be helpful in determining the amount of attention and time they are able to invest in your career.
In contrast, larger sports agency firms have the infrastructure to still provide quality time and attention to individual clients, so be sure to inquire about their firm’s structure in this regard.
If for some reason I’m not selected, how can you help me increase my chances of making the team?
Unfortunately, every year the odds fail to come together as expected. There are also players who were expected to be free agents who went undrafted. Experienced sports agency firms will work with you to create a plan of action to assess worst-case scenarios.
Ask what kind of plan they would put in place to evaluate a situation where you were not drafted or where you ended up getting undrafted free agent offers if you expected to be drafted.
Ask if these situations have happened in the past and how they handled it.
What are your support contract strategies for a player like me?
It’s much more difficult to get endorsement deals in professional football today than it was years ago. The best are reserved for star quarterbacks, especially those who play in big market cities. Marketing opportunities for average players in small markets are very rare.
The amount of weight you place on a sports agent firm’s experience with client referrals is up to you, however, it is wise to consider how rare they are when evaluating sports agent firms.
How can you help me earn extra money from other opportunities?
Although approvals are scarce, opportunities still exist. The main factor for finding these opportunities is superior performance on the field, but there are other factors, such as image and affordability, that will increase your chances.
The best sports agent companies have the resources, whether internal or external, to help clients optimize their public appeal through community outreach, free public speaking opportunities, social media strategies, interviews, and other opportunities to make you approachable, personable, and memorable. public.
In addition to good financial management, how can you help me prepare for life after sports? What other clients have you helped in their career after career?
Post-career assistance and guidance is a fairly standard offering from today’s sports agent firms. The key is whether you are willing to listen and follow the directions given. 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 guidance and tips to help you become an informed and smart professional soccer player (at and off the field, visit Get 2 The League today!
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