As an athlete, you are on a tight rope. Do you play the safe route, keep your mouth shut at all times, and only worry about your play on the field to earn your dollars? This route can actually play against you. Teams are looking for athletes who are marketable, can sell tickets even if they have “off games”, and sell merchandise year-round. You also may get criticized for not speaking. Or do you take a risk and saturate the world with your remarks, taking every interview and writing a blog daily? This could be very beneficial, if you say the right things and don’t go on tirades about how bad the referees are or that your coach is the worst thing since unflavored protein shakes. There is no magical method for overall off-the-field success; however, some athletes seem to understand that in today’s day-and-age there is a formula that tends to produce a a strong brand. That formula includes embracing the World Wide Web.
There are a variety of methods for athletes to gain a strong presence on the web. They can definitely spruce up their Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking site pages. The content should include nothing worse than PG-13 material. If you have naked pictures or videos of you drinking with buddies, it probably should be kept on your external hard drive and off of the internet. These sites do give athletes the ability to connect to fans, though. Who doesn’t want to know what TO’s favorite movies and books are? Additionally, athletes can start blogging directly to their fans. Sites like Yardbarker and MLB.com have created platforms for athletes to do this in a community with others. But many athletes have also created their own websites and individual blogs with much success.
Guys that others should be following are Curt Schilling, Kobe Bryant, and Gilbert Arenas. Most likely, you have been to their web sites. Why don’t Philip Rivers or Jake Peavy have sites? They are truly missing out on a cheap venture that has the potential to create additional wealth that is not quantifiable. This is not an area that you want to be stingy about. As an agent, I always find it interesting when I have to justify our commission percentage to a potential client. For the services that we provide, you think it would be a no-brainer. At 3-5% (depending on the league), we are making pennies compared to the increase in salary that a player may generate based on our work. It is the same with an athlete’s web presence. While it may cost $20-30 thousand for an interactive site, you better believe that a higher profile athlete will end up making that back and more based on the increase of that player’s marketability.
Only eight out of thirty-two starting quarterbacks have a web site? Give me a break. As agents, we should be on our game. Start embracing the web and Web 2.0 products, or fall back and let the young guns who understand the new game take your business. I would not only be happy to represent those other twenty-four quarterbacks and have their web presence built properly, but I would even make the site if I have to (both this site and www.DynastyReps.com were created by me).
There are many hidden benefits of having a site as well. You can make your sponsors proud by displaying them for all to see. Your charitable foundation can also be a highlight of the page, encouraging others to get involved and donate towards your cause. Overall, the potential risks involved in putting yourself “out there” are definitely outweighed by the potential benefits. So agents, stop reading, pick up the phone, and order your client a web site if he/she does not have one.