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Interview With Marc Isenberg

Money PlayersI Want to be a Sports Agent recommends that you buy Marc Isenberg’s new book: Money Players. Three athletic departments have purchased 10+ copies. One prominent sports agent purchased 50 copies for his clients.

1 copy: $25 per
2 copies: $20 per
10 copies, $15 per
50 copies, $10 per

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Marc Isenberg is the author at Money Players blog, but he is a lot more than that. He has been involved in the business of sports for the past ten years. He wrote “The Student Athlete Survival Guide,” a book that helps athletes (and their families) make the transition from high school to college. He has worked with a number of college sports programs in addition to advising athletes and their families. Marc has had articles on the business of sports published in The New York Times, NCAA News, and Sports Business Journal.

I recently had the privilege of talking to Mr. Isenberg about about his brand new book, hot off the press: Money Players.

Darren Heitner: Why did you choose to name the book Money Players?

Marc Isenberg: The original title was “Go Pro Like a Pro,” which I think is catchy, but it suggests that the book is only about making the transition from college to professional sports. The book is much broader, covering issues amateur and pro athletes face. The more important theme of Money Players is how to make good off-the-field (or court) decisions, from the selection of agents and advisers to spending and investing.

Darren Heitner: You have a blog called Money Players. Is it to promote the book, or
more than that?

Marc Isenberg: Writing Money Players took two years start to finish. I have a full-time job, so I mostly worked on it nights and weekends. There’s no immediate gratification or even satisfaction to writing a book until it’s actually published. Blogging for me is much more fun and a great way to immediately comment on interesting or bizarre sports business issues or injustices affecting athletes. However, there were several instances of topics I blogged on this past year that I also used in my book (Randolph Morris, Sean Jones, going pro vs. staying in school, player conduct).

Darren Heitner: Why did you decide to write Money Players?

Marc Isenberg: I think many athletes are put in situations they are not prepared to handle, which leads to too many unfortunate outcomes (hiring the wrong people, poor spending habits and bad investments, to name a few). I also believe athletes want to learn about these issues, but no one has ever clearly, concisely explained how the business of being a professional athlete works. I hope that Money Players addresses this void.

Darren Heitner: Why should athletes read your book?

Marc Isenberg: Your career window for being a pro athlete is incredibly short. You don’t have time to make mistakes — and if you do, the consequences are magnified. You are easy targets. Shady operators, ranging from con artists to those pitching questionable investments see professional sports as an opportunity to take advantage of young, financially inexperienced young men. While reading a book on the business of being a professional athlete does not guarantee you financial success, it provides valuable information and guidance that I think increases the likelihood of financial security for the rest of your life.

Darren Heitner: Why should those interested in the business of sports purchase Money Players?

Marc Isenberg: While the number of pro athletes is still small, salaries and endorsement fees have increased exponentially over the last decade. There are thousands of jobs servicing professional athletes (agents, marketers, financial advisers, lawyers). Athletes need competent legal and financial professionals with impeccable integrity. This book helps students and business professionals by describing what an intelligent and informed athlete wants from relationships with them and how to succeed, not fail, in the sports business industry. In addition, for those who want to know how sports grew into the big business it is today, Money Players covers the evolution of modern professional sports, from the dark ages (reserve clause) to the struggle for free agency to today’s partnership between owners and players.

Darren Heitner: We know your background in sports, but what about your background in money?

Marc Isenberg: I got my MBA from University of California-Irvine. I work for Ballamor Capital Management, a money management firm. I am fascinated by how people handle and invest money. Professional athletes are not typically equipped to understand how to make disciplined decisions about spending and investing. I’m good at explaining how to rationally approach business decisions — from the selection of financial and legal professionals to budgeting to investing.

Darren Heitner: Professional athletes have busy schedules. Can’t athletes hire financial and legal professionals to take care of their business affairs?

Marc Isenberg: Absolutely. Athletes do have very busy schedules and need to rely to some degree on experts. But athletes need to understand how to select competent, ethical agents and advisers who can serve in their best interest. My message to athletes is simple: If you have time to play Madden or NBA Live, you have time to read my book — and apply its principles. The stakes are too high for anything less.

Darren Heitner: If you had to place a value on Involvement in the Community (chapter
22), where would you place it in the totem pole of responsibilities for an athlete?

Marc Isenberg: Community involvement is huge. Today’s professional athletes understand that they are no longer paid just to win games. Yes, winning helps generate revenue, but connecting with fans is one of, if not the, most important function of every professional sports franchise. It starts with the players, and extends to everyone who interacts with fans, from the team execs to the cheerleaders to the popcorn vendors. I can’t tell you who the best NASCAR driver is, but I know Jeff Gordon and Dale Junior make the most money.

Darren Heitner: Sell your book in two sentences.

Marc Isenberg: Money Players contains 20 cartoons, including one set at a strip club — what’s not to like? If you’re not 100% satisfied with your purchase, the publisher will not only refund your money, but the author will also contribute $25 to Sean Jones‘s legal defense fund.

Darren Heitner: 20 cartoons is enough to make me buy a book. And I love money back guarantees! Thanks for the interview, and best of luck!

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.

6 replies on “Interview With Marc Isenberg”

Your interview helps understand Marc’s motivation for writing MoneyPlayers. Lots of people get lost in particular sports. Marc gives me a chance to understand the sports system. Thanks!

Hello ,

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