The following “Six Questions” short interview is with Josh Rosenthal, Junior Agent with Vision Sports Group. VSG is a sports management and marketing agency that specializes in securing and negotiating broadcasting and marketing agreements for clients. The Q&A was conducted by Belmont University Law School student and aspiring sports/entertainment agent Mark J. Burns. Connect with Josh on Linkedin.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to work in the sports agency world? As a follow-up, what types of internships/job experiences did you obtain that helped you progress in your career?
It actually wasn’t until I already started working at Vision Sports Group that I realized working for a sports agency was in fact for me. It turns out, there IS more to it than the “Show Me The Money!” scene from the movie, Jerry Maguire!
In all seriousness though, I had done quite a few sports-related internships, but none in the agency world, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I’ve learned is, through the help of my boss Maury Gostfrand, working in this industry allows you the opportunity to help secure opportunities for people that they might not normally be able to get on their own, and those opportunities help change their lives. There really isn’t a better feeling than that. If you couple that aspect with the ability to work in sports, I now feel that it’s the perfect fit for me.
2. The sports agency niche might be one of the hardest areas to break into within the over-arching sports industry. How were you able to do it at such a young age?
I got really lucky and am thankful for it every day. I was working at a law firm in New York City and really wanted to finally break into the sports industry. I just so happened to send a LinkedIn message to an old classmate of mine at UMass who was currently working at Vision Sports Group. He messaged me back something generic, which was no fault of his. I now know for a fact that he received plenty of e-mails like mine! But, rather than “filing it away”, he actually did pass it on. A month later, I got an e-mail to come in for an interview, as there was now an open position that needed to be filled. And as they say, the rest was history.
The moral of the story is, never stop networking, making new relationships, and working on strengthening those relationships over time. You just never know how it will help you or change your career for the better. You may get discouraged at times when nothing is working out, but keep at it! It only takes one.
3. What do you do on a daily/weekly basis as a Junior Agent with Vision Sports?
Our main responsibilities at Vision Sports Group are to negotiate our clients’ contracts with the various networks, as we represent mostly sports broadcasters. We also work to secure them marketing deals with various companies, brands, sponsors, etc. Again, this takes a lot of communication: strengthening relationships with the proper parties through phone calls, e-mails, meetings, and follow ups. We also do a lot of research in order to find new opportunities for our clients that may benefit them. We need to stay on top of it all and we have to immerse ourselves in the sports industry in order to really serve our clients the best we can.
We also help take care of everything in between, which may be a little less glorious, but just as important. We help organize our clients’ travel, set up meetings for them, work with their accountants to organize their finances, and much more. We also work hard to keep OURSELVES organized, so we can best maximize our time throughout the days.
4. What is the biggest challenge that you have found about being a sports agent?
Maury actually told me this in my interview 2 ½ years ago, and it couldn’t be more true. It’s LOGISTICS. A great opportunity may be presented to us for one of our clients, but chances are there is some sort of road block that we need to maneuver around to make it happen, whether it’s travel, prior obligations, family commitments, or many other examples that we have encountered over the years. Sometimes you have to get a little creative in order to get things done. Never give up on an opportunity until you’ve explored every possible option!
5. What is your ultimate career goal in the next 15-20 years?
I’ve never been one to have an “ultimate career goal”, except when I was 15 years old and wanted to play centerfield for the New York Mets. I like to take it a day at a time. I’m very happy where I am now, doing what I’m doing. I am just going to keep working hard, keep getting better at what I do, and I know good things will happen. In 15-20 years as long as I’m happy, healthy, all my clients are happy, and I have a little money in my pocket, I will have achieved a goal.
6. In 140 characters or less, what advice would you give to aspiring sports/entertainment business professionals who want to work in the sports agency world?
Don’t stop developing those relationships, and immerse yourself in the industry. Become so knowledgeable and sharp that you become a “must hire”.