Feb
02

Should A Sports Agency Charge Internship Applicants A Fee?

Last night, I asked the following question to my followers on Twitter: Would you apply for an internship w/a sports agency if you had to pay a $25 “application fee”?  I thank all of you who contributed to the large number of replies.  There was a mix of yes and no answers. A few said that it depends on the agency and whether or not it the intern(s) selected would be paid by the agency.

Here are some of the replies:

 


Knowing that many of my Twitter followers are individuals interested in breaking into the sports agency profession, I figured I had the perfect audience for the question. And I was genuinely interested in the responses. I asked, because I was recently forwarded an internship application letter from an established and respected agency that is charging a $25 application fee; something I had never heard of being done in the sports agency business.

The agency charging the fee is Platinum Sports & Entertainment Management, a St., Saint Charles, Missouri-based baseball agency.  Their internship application letter says that they receive over one thousand intern applications each year.  If they can convince those applicants to pay the $25 fee, they will make over $25,000 on application fees alone.  Sounds like a decent side business.  By the way, the internships are unpaid.

The internship application letter is embedded, below.

Internship Application Letter

Nick Brockmeyer of Platinum Sports & Entertainment Management has responded to this article with the following: We were getting over 1000 applicants a year from students that just thought the industry sounded “cool” and we wanted a way to narrow it down to those who were serious about the internship and had really thought through moving to St. Louis for an unpaid internship. Through this process we have done just that. We now have a much smaller selection of applicants to sort through and they have all thought about this thoroughly before applying. By no means was it set up to be a money making plan, nor has it turned out that way. We went from 1000 frivolous applicants each year to approximately 20 very good applicants. There are thousands of examples of entities in life that make one pay an application fee (including the colleges these students are coming from)….no one says a word about that. I can give you a list of every intern that has ever interned for Platinum and you can interview them all. They would have nothing but good things to say about our internship program. Many of our past interns are currently working for us right now. If someone doesn’t want to pay the application fee and go through our process I respect that decision and we will move forward with no shortage of intern applicants.

  • Kirkmenardjr

    My name is Kirk Menard and I am currently an intern at Platinum Sports & Entertainment. I paid the $25 application fee because I had a serious interest in getting into the Sport Agency field. I feel that anyone who is serious about trying to get a job with an Agency would be more than happy to pay the insignificant fee of $25. I have been an intern at Platinum for almost a month now and have already gotten to experience things worth well over $25. Nick Brockmeyer, President of Platinum, has put together a great internship program to where I get to do things most interns would never have a chance doing. For instance we frequently get to spend time with our baseball clients at charity events and dinners. To top it off I have the opportunity to go to Arizona and Florida for Spring Training. Anyone who is serious about working in the Sport Agency field should be more than willing to pay $25 for a quality, hands on internship program. 

    • Extern

      Will you have to pay for yourself to get to Arizona or Florida for Spring Training?  

    • Emathis

      Kirk, can I get your contact information?  Or you can email me at emathis@kent.edu.  My name is Erik and would like to speak with you

  • http://twitter.com/augustus223 Gus Scheidemann

    I think the $25 application fee is a great idea especially for agencies trying to weed out the applicants who are not that serious. However, the sports industry is extremely hard to break into as everyone knows and if most agencies start doing this it could be tough for students to justify paying for multiple internship applications that they most likely won’t get. I spoke with someone from HR at Under Armour and they told me that they received over 5,000 applications last year. I know that UA isn’t an agency, but I’m sure companies like CAA and WMG get close to this number. I’m guessing that narrowing down candidates for internships is mostly automated these days since it would take to much time for HR to go through all of the applications, which makes it even harder to justify paying the fee. I just think if everyone starts charging it might become a little discouraging for some applicants knowing that they are fighting for five spots with a couple thousand other people. 

  • Gmsearch

    You are obviously looking for a creative money stream, so if you generate 1000 applicants through internet marketing, that is a cool 25k even if you decide not to hire! Why not focus on getting clients and be the agent you want everyone to believe you are

  • Kirkmenardjr

    To those responding….you obviously need to read Nick Brockmeyer’s “response” above where it says that this process has reduced the amount of applicants down to less than 20 applicants a year. Definitely doesn’t add up to a “cool 25K” that Gmsearch’s math leads us to believe.
    Gus, Platinum applicants don’t have that 1 in 1000 or 1 in 5000 chance anymore with this new procedure.
    Extern, Spring Training expenses are paid for by the company.  I haven’t had to pay a dime for anything.  In fact I went to a basketball game with my boss on Wednesday night and sat court side for free.

    • Scheidemann G

      I understand that it has reduced the number of applicants, but I don’t think the number of applicants would drop by that drastic of a number at an agency like CAA or Octagon. I hope most places start doing this so students aren’t applying to internships that they don’t even care about. 

  • Cjroy

    My recommendation is if you’re going to charge an application fee, why don’t you use the money from the fee to pay the interns?  To charge an application fee for an unpaid internship is not fair and probably means that you’re only getting applications from those who can afford to work for free AND pay an application fee on top of it.  To charge the unpaid interns a fee, and not pay them for the internship, when you are benefitting from their work, limits the applicants to the “haves” and would most likely eliminate those who are hard workers and are stretching to be able to take on an unpaid internship. It does not limit the applicants to “those who are serious.”  Some of the best workers are those that have had to work to pay for college.  You’re probably not getting that group of students.

  • Theb2

    This is hysterical! Platinum “sports agency” doesn’t have any fee paying clients or prospects and needs seven interns a year? What are they doing, arbitration cases for minor league free agents?

    This has to be a joke.