Here at SportsAgentBlog.com – I Want to be a Sports Agent, we have covered many non-traditional ways that an interested person can break into the sports agent industry. Some categories discussed include representing video gamers, bowlers, and bull riders. After reading a recent New York Times article on sportswriters, I am beginning to think that some of the top sports writers may soon be calling on sports agents to negotiate their next big contract [The Top Player in This League? It May Be the Sports Reporter].
There is a huge brain drain occurring at the old media entities. Newspapers like the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today are seeing their best writers leave for more lucrative jobs writing at ESPN and Yahoo! Sports. The Washington Post has seen three of its sports writers leave for a higher paying job in less than a two year period. Last month, USA Today lost four of its NBA writers [USA Today Doesn’t Care About the NBA]. Why stay around at the dying old guard when you can ask ESPN to pay you Rick Reilly type money ($3 million a year)?
The NYT article mentions that media entities are getting into bidding wars over the top sports journalists. The bold print should ring opportunity in the minds of agents. When there are multiple offers and a lot of money is on the table, the scene is set for a sports agent to enter into the negotiations. Leigh Steinberg equates the situation to “free agency for sports journalists.” Let’s just hope that these journalists fare better in the long run than Ricky Williams.
The San Fransisco Chronicle just cut half its staff, the Washington Post is losing strong columnists left and right, USA Today is offering buyouts, and the NYT is allowing its writers to post stories that document the newspaper industry’s downfall. Meanwhile, sports journalists have the opportunity to make more money than ever. It is just a matter of time before agents become a staple of the negotiations for up and coming journalists.
Who knows…some day I may get a call from Will Leitch of Deadspin.com or a blogger who does not actually go by a name, like TBL of TheBigLead.com, asking for representation. These bloggers may end up being the future big time players making top dollars in the media market. Jamie Mottram, writer of Mr. Irrelevant and host of Blog Show, went from heading AOL’s FanHouse to being in charge of Yahoo! Sports’ new blogging platform. There are success stories out there in the blogging world.
But even if blogging ends up being a fad and slowly dies away, companies like SI, ESPN, and Yahoo! are banking that internet sports news is going to be the main way that sports fans receive their content. They are displaying this faith by paying large sums of money to sports journalists, prying them away from traditional media entities. As a sports agent and journalist, I am very interested in what future sports journalist contracts end up looking like, and hope that I am one day involved in a sports journalist’s contractual negotiations.