Agent Spotlights Sports Agents

A snippet from the great article by The Hardball Times

Tal's looking sharp

Question: If someone were looking to become and agent, or look to work on management’s side of the table, what are the key things they should focus on? Should they focus on contract law? Going over the Uniform Player Contract, what have you?

Smith: I frankly don’t think it’s that much of a legal exercise. It gets down to the ability to communicate—to people skills. A lot of it is salesmanship. Frankly, when an agent is trying to sell his player—trying to sell his client—we have to recognize that at some point an agent is in negotiating with a club and be in a somewhat adversarial relationship, and the next day calling the same club trying to find a job for one of his guys. So, it’s not as confrontational as it used to be. It’s really gets down to your skills as a communicator and your skills at being a negotiator, and the ability to understand your position, but also the other guy’s position. That’s the only way you’re going to be able to strike a deal. If you’re going to be hard-line about everything you’re going to have a hard time. It gets down to leverage. And sometimes when an agent’s got leverage because he’s got a great player and he’s a free agent, or on the verge of becoming a free agent, obviously, he’s kind of in control of the situation. But, he also has to serve his client’s best interest too, and it’s not always top dollar.

As far as preparation and training for an individual looking to get into the business, I don’t know if there really is anything. Obviously, you need to have somewhat of an understanding of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but yet, frankly, there are a lot of agents and management personnel that aren’t particularly well versed in those areas. If they run into a problem there’s always the Commissioner’s Office or the Players Association to straighten them out.

Well I was finally able to get through both of the articles that I posted on a couple of days ago (I just started up Spring semester…exciting). I feel that this statement is by far the most relevant to all readers of this blog. I have received numerous e-mails asking me “what should we be doing now to become a Sports Agent?” I think that Tal Smith answers this question very well. The one thing that I will add (though I am no smarter than anyone else) is that while it is a must to be a great communicator and have good people skills, I think that in such a competitive industry, it is vital to bring something to the table that no one else does. As with anything else in this day and age, what was good yesterday is no longer good today. Items and people are constantly getting smarter and better at what they do. So no matter what it is that you can bring to the table, do it at the very best, and if you can, try to re-invent this business. That’s my shpiel(sp?) for the night.

Once again, the actual Hardball Times article may be read here

[tags]sports agent, business, tal smith, baseball[/tags]

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

One reply on “A snippet from the great article by The Hardball Times”

[…] See: “This Is Not a Game” by CFO Magazine: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO BUILD GOOD RELATIONSHIPS (let’s just say that I capped that message because I am 100% in support of it)…do not burn your bridges as some agents have done in the past. […]

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