Agent Spotlights Sports Agents

Agent Spotlight: Darek Braunecker

brauneckerIf you want to look at hotbeds for young baseball talent, the first places you will look at California, Florida, and Texas.  They are heavily populated, warm weather states, with traditionally strong high school and college programs.  However, there is also a lot of competition amongst agents in those states, trying to secure the rights to represent the best of the best.  There is a risk of being a small fish in a big pond.  A few agents have recognized this, and practically created monopolies for their practices, by focusing on the less-noticed regions.  One of those people is Darek Braunecker.

After ending his career as a Minor League pitcher, Darek started representing players with Stephens Sports Management Inc. He then split off and created Braunecker Sports Council, a firm located in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Darek has focused on securing the best talent in the state of Arkansas, and he has succeeded in his mission.  He teamed up with Jim Lindell and Mark Rodgers to create a new agency, Frontline Sports Management, and represents guys like A.J. Burnett, Cliff Lee, and a young kid in the Angels organization named Dustin Moseley.

Braunecker recently talked with about his business and his two stud clients, Burnett and Lee.  This is my absolute favorite Q&A segment of the piece: You started out at Stephens Sports Management and branched out on your own here. Are you happy being based out of Little Rock?

DB: Very much so. I don’t anticipate being anywhere but Little Rock, Arkansas. In this business now, if you have a laptop and easy access to an airport you can conduct business anywhere. This may not be a hotbed of talent from an amateur standpoint but this isn’t a regional practice for me either. You emphasize your own region, sure … but you don’t operate in a vacuum in a particular geographic region … Being here allows me to do things with the guys in the off-season on a more personal basis as well. If we could continue to produce guys like A.J. and Cliff, then I’d be in pretty good shape. Unfortunately you can’t rely on that within this state year in and year out. It requires you to spread your tentacles a little bit farther as well.

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.

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