Sports Agent Interview:
with Matthew Vuckovich
Scott Casanover is a 31-year-old sports agent and is the General Counsel/Chief Legal Officer of The MAC Group of Companies, as well as the Director of MAC Sports & Entertainment (www.macsportsandentertainment.com). Josh Wilson (one of Casanover’s client’s) was featured in an interview on this site earlier in the week [Interview With The Athlete: Josh Wilson]. I was able to talk with Mr. Casanover and this is what he had to say:
Matthew Vuckovich: How did you get started in this industry?
Scott Casanover: Like most people in the industry, I backed into it. Originally, I was hired to act as the General Counsel of our parent company, MAC Meetings and Events, which included handling the legal aspects of our athletes at MAC Sports and Entertainment. At that time, MAC Sports only represented football and hockey players, but after I had been with the company for a couple of months, I was asked to launch the baseball division at MAC Sports.
Matthew Vuckovich: Did you attend law school or grad school? If so, which law school or grad school?
Scott Casanover: I attended Washington University School of Law (http://law.wustl.edu).
Matthew Vuckovich: Who was your first client (year, sport), and how did you recruit him?
Scott Casanover: Initially, while in private practice at a large law firm in St. Louis I assisted a partner with the representation of several basketball players. My first client at MAC Sports was Josh Wilson, the Cardinals 2nd round pick in 2005. At the time, I was contacted by a mutual friend in the Cardinals organization and was told that Josh was looking for an agent. Shortly thereafter, I flew to Texas to meet with Josh and Josh became the first baseball client at MAC Sports.
Matthew Vuckovich: How did you handle your first contract negotiation?
Scott Casanover: It really was quite straightforward. Because he was a relatively young basketball player, looking for a shot in the CBA, we couldn’t make a lot of demands. He basically signed for the league minimum and a shot at the dream he could be seen by enough scouts to play in the NBA.
Matthew Vuckovich: What is the most important aspect of being a sports agent?
Scott Casanover: VERACITY. It is imperative that your clients can trust you not only look out for their best interest and that you are acting as a zealous advocate on their behalf, but also that you are doing so in an open and scrupulous manner. Also, I think in order to succeed in this industry it takes a tremendous work ethic and self-sacrifice. A willingness to work all hours, while spending a great deal of time away from your family, and to do so while not necessarily making a huge salary are all keys to success in this business.
Matthew Vuckovich: At what age do you feel an agent with hit his prime/glory years? Why?
Scott Casanover: Mid-to late 30s. By then you have had enough professional and personnel life experiences to offer excellent guidance to your clients, but you are still young enough to handle the rigors associated with the profession.
Matthew Vuckovich: What is your opinion of “larger” agencies with less attention to their clients compared to “smaller” agencies who counsel more with their clients?
Scott Casanover: I don’t think there are many successful agencies that provide “less attention to their clients.” Regardless of an agencies size, they have to provide a great deal of attention to their clients; otherwise they aren’t going to have clients for long. But that said, the choice between a large agency and a small agency is not unlike the difference between deciding between an SUV and a convertible – it’s all personnel preference. Some athletes like to build a personnel relationship with their agents. Some guys only want to hear from their agents when it’s time to negotiate an endorsement deal or a contract. There is no right or wrong model.
Matthew Vuckovich: Where do you see the athlete representation industry going in 10 years?
Scott Casanover: I think it will continue to grow. Sports and Sports Marketing has grown into a $250 Billion a year industry. Like any industry that sees a tremendous amount of economic expansion, you will see more career and business opportunities, which in turn will make the athlete representation industry more competitive. I think you will also see globalization of athlete representation, with more and more agencies looking to other sports in other countries to maintain revenue.
Matthew Vuckovich: Take our readers through a typical day in your life.
Scott Casanover: There really are no typical days. Most mornings, I arrive at my office by 7:30 a.m. The first thing I do is read all of the box scores from the previous night’s games. I scour approximately 20-25 websites and blogs to look for current information/trade rumors/and interesting tidbits regarding my current players. This usually takes a couple of hours. The remainder of the day is spent touching base with current clients to discuss either their game from the night before or to just make sure they are doing ok and they have all the equipment they need. My evenings are spent tracking box scores or listening to Internet feeds of my players’ games.
Of course the above routine is frequently broken up by recruitment trips to visit prospective clients or trips to see current clients play in games, along with contract negotiations.
Matthew Vuckovich: What advice do you have for people looking to break into the industry?
Scott Casanover: INTERNSHIPS, INTERNSHIPS, INTERNSHIPS. While I realize most of your readers understand the importance of an internship within the sports industry, I would encourage them to “think outside the box” and look for opportunities other than traditional agencies. If you are a law-student, there might be opportunities at a law firm that allow you to participate in the negotiation of contracts. While they might not necessarily be sports related contracts, the skills you learn can be invaluable. For college students, opportunities with minor league sports teams abound. Finally, PERSEVERE. Given the competitiveness of the job market in this profession, you have to be willing to spend a number of years knocking on a number of doors to finally land the job you want.
Matthew Vuckovich: Does your agency provide internships for people looking to break into the industry?
Scott Casanover: We do, although, like most agencies, the number of applications we receive makes the process extremely competitive. Typically we hire 1-2 interns a year, based on their relative work experience, their education and their ability to contribute to the agency.
Matthew Vuckovich: If you could do one thing to renovate the Sports Agent industry, what would it be and how would you go about accomplishing that goal?
Scott Casanover: I don’t know if it could be considered a renovation, but I think it would be great if all 50 states adopted the Uniform Athlete Agents Act.
Matthew Vuckovich: What are some of the things an agent can offer their clients besides the negotiation of contracts, getting endorsements, and others along those lines?
Scott Casanover: Other than the negotiation of contracts, many agencies offer tax consulting, legal services and financial planning. As a smaller agency, I see value in providing a lot of personal attention to my clients. I keep track of my clients’ game-day performances and have frequent conversations with them during the week. The boundaries of services offered are really as broad as your imagination. One week a client might need help with travel plans. The next week he might have issues with a car dealership. Young players, especially the ones drafted out of high school, frequently need help developing personal budgets. Recently, I had a client who had labrum surgery in his pitching arm. I took him to the hospital at 5:00 a.m. and waited for 5 hours while the surgery was being performed. He recovered at my house, with my wife and me for 3 days, until he was released to travel. Providing that type of personal attention to a client is what can help the smaller agencies separate themselves from the larger ones.
Matthew Vuckovich: What drives you to represent professional athletes?
Scott Casanover: It allows me to bridge my legal education with my love for baseball.
Matthew Vuckovich: What are some of the different issues you deal with as an agent for your media clients?
Scott Casanover: The employment contracts typically present themselves, so the bulk of my efforts focus on looking for creative marketing and endorsement opportunities. I also seek out unique speaking engagements that allow them to increase their profiles in the community, such as emceeing charity events or golf tournaments.
Matthew Vuckovich: On behalf of SportsAgentBlog.com and all of our readers, I would like to thank Scott Casanover for sharing his knowledge and experiences with us today. You can check out his website at MACSPORTSANDENTERTAINMENT.com. Till next time, be safe and act ethically in the business that you love.