The following “Six Questions” short interview with Maury Gostfrand, Broadcasting Agent/Owner of Vision Sports Group, was conducted by Belmont University Law School student and aspiring sports/entertainment agent Mark J. Burns. Connect with Maury on Linkedin.
1) When did you first realize you wanted to work in sports? What types of internships/volunteer opportunities did you have early on in your career?
Like many people, I loved sports growing up. My best friend’s father was a sport agent representing baseball and hockey players, so I was able to experience meeting players and learning about the business. I knew I wanted a career in sports but only until about college did I focus on pursuing opportunities with sports management companies. My first internship was with IMG in their Boston office. I assisted in securing sponsorships for two tennis tournaments, selling tickets, event coordinator, etc. Although I didn’t have interest in working in the tennis field, it was a great experience and it didn’t hurt to have IMG on my resume. Prior to law school, I decided to take a year off and find a job in the sports business. I worked with a sports management company, which represented athletes and broadcasters, so I got my first taste of working with broadcasters and loved it. During law school, I interned in the University of Miami athletic department and worked for a sports agent, assisting with contract negotiations and marketing.
2) You have both an undergraduate degree (University of Michigan) and also a law degree (University of Miami School of Law). How has your law degree helped in your role as a broadcasting agent? As a follow-up, is a graduate degree necessary for this type of position? Based on your experiences throughout your career, would a dual-degree JD/MBA be even more beneficial?
I think a law degree can be very helpful in any type of business. I found that it made me think critically and ask a lot of questions. And of course it helps with understanding language in the contracts. However, I don’t think it’s necessary to have a law degree or other graduate degree but it can certainly help.
3) Who was your first client at Vision Sports Group, and how did you obtain him/her? Any specific strategy? Luck? A mutual connection that connected the two of you?
Prior to starting Vision Sports Group, I worked for an agency in New York City. When I left to start Vision, a lot of my clients came with me, so I can’t say who the first one was. However, I am truly fortunate to have very loyal clients.
4) What three skills are absolutely necessary for someone to have in order to excel in the sports industry?
The ability to solve problems, the ability to think creatively, and to be passionate about what you are doing.
5) What is the most difficult or challenging part about being a broadcasting agent?
Like most businesses, it’s more competitive than ever before, but there are also more opportunities than ever before. You really need to think ahead, and try to determine where the opportunities may be, and set your clients up to be ready to pursue these opportunities.
6) In 100 words or less, what advice would you give to aspiring sports business professionals who want to work in the sports agency space?
I would try and focus on what area in sports you want to pursue. I often speak with recent graduates who say they just want to get in sports. Believe me, I understand. However, I think they would separate themselves in interviews if they did the homework and figured out what area would they most excel in and be passionate about. I recommend trying to secure informational interviews with sports executives in management, marketing, PR, licensing, etc. and get a good idea of what they do on a typical day. Also, companies are often looking for college students to do marketing or promotional work on campus. I highly recommend this, and it could open doors for you after you graduate.