This weekend I had the opportunity to visit Chicago, Illinois for the first time and attend the 2016 TPG Sports Group Sports Agent School. The conference was 2 days long and covered 6 panel topics. Attendees ranged from undergraduate students to professionals in different industries.
The Introduction to Athlete Representation panel consisted of Lou Nero- Octagon Baseball, Todd Ramasar- Life Sports Management, and Alex Saratsis- Octagon Basketball. The panelists discussed the importance of being a detailed and people person, being able to adapt, and having a career path outside of being a sports agent. Nero discussed how despite being the son of an established and well respected MLB agent that no task is beneath you, no matter who you know.
The Successfully Representing An Athlete: Creating Opportunities for Your Client panel consisted of Ian Greengross- Ultimate Sports Agency, Mike Naiditch- Naiditch Entertainment, and Nick Greisen- Pro Financial Services. Panelists discussed the importance of clients doing charitable work because they want to, agents should get to know the media, know your player and what they can do, and a key component of crisis management is fronting the bad information to tell the story in a favorable narrative for your client.
Herb Rudoy- Interperformances, Doug Neustadt- The Neustadt Group, and Bernie Lee- Lee Basketball Services spoke on Recruiting Talent & The Importance of Relationships. Lee told attendees to have a connection with the person himself, Rudoy said make a plan and follow the plan for the player and Neustandt said the journey starts with telling the athlete truthfully what you can do for them and put yourself in a position to win in a tie.
Naiditch and Ramasar gave candid stories on the Paths to Becoming an Agent panel and told real life accounts of recruiting horror stories and the more favorable side of the business. The main takeaway from this panel was to be passionate about everything, talk to the right people in the athlete’s life, approach recruiting step by step, and you can’t be a jack of all trades its more important to be a master of one.
Pete Philo- President of TPG Sports Group and Selcuk Ernak- Eurocup Coach joined Lee on The Art of Deal: Contract Negotiation panel. The panelists talked about the importance of agents having relationships with coaches and scouts so they know who to pursue when recruiting.
The last panel consisted of the agent entrepreneurs who ran their own agency, Bouna Ndiaye- Comport joined Ramasar and Rudoy to discuss Building an Agency. They talked about the long hours and countless days spent away from their families to ensure a successful career. They also spoke candidly about difficulties starting out and how having a great team is essential when running your own agency.
Akil Dan-Fodio, 2L at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia said ” I really enjoyed the conference. The panel discussions were very insightful and beneficial to someone in the beginning stages of the sports agency world like myself. Additionally, the networking opportunities with current successful agents as well as the number of prospective agents present were unlike anything else I’ve experienced. Overall an amazing opportunity.”