Very few agents effectively mix sports and social media. Scott Norton is one of the few who has not only been able to intertwine the two, but he has also used his social media presence to benefit others. The following interview highlights his “Make My Day Mondays” (MMDM) social media initiative as well as his start in the sports agent industry, his family’s ownership of professional franchises, and his current representation of hockey players. Norton also happens to provide a few words on a particular competitor’s usage of Twitter.
Darren Heitner: You were a partner in two other sports agencies before starting your own, Norton Sports Management (NSM). What agencies? Who did you work with? Who were some of your clients?
Scott Norton: I began in the business by working with Buddy Meyers at Sunset Coast Sports Management (SCSM) where we repped some NHL players including Igor Kravtchouk as an NHL All-Star and Olympian, as well as Alexei Morozov. I then was a partner in GAME Hockey for a few years.
Darren Heitner: What made you decide to start your own agency? What are the positives and negatives of setting up your own shop as opposed to working for an established agency?
Scott Norton: I originally bought Buddy Meyers out from SCSM when he decided to leave the business and focus on his partnership in the Chicago Wolves. Ever since then I have always enjoyed the freedom of being my own boss. I am very concerned about my morals and reputation, and that is not always the case in this business.
Darren Heitner: What were some of your biggest challenges when you started NSM?
Scott Norton: The biggest challenges have mainly been getting the company name out there and well recognized. Finding the right people to fill out my staff has also been a major point which has had to be addressed properly.
Darren Heitner: What is your family’s involvement with the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox? With a tie to basketball and baseball, you chose to represent hockey players. Explain that one!
Scott Norton: My father owns a piece of the White Sox, and my mother owns a piece of the White Sox and the Bulls. It has been something that I have been blessed with since I was a teenager, and allowed me to learn a lot about the business of sports. I chose to represent hockey players because 1. I was a hockey player so I think I understand my clients the best and 2. I wanted to stay away from baseball and basketball so that I could make a name for myself.
Darren Heitner: Do you place any hockey players overseas? Can you describe how the placing of players and negotiation of their contracts is different overseas?
Scott Norton: Yes, amongst others, I represent Kevin Dallman who is known to be the most successful North American to play in the KHL. I have partnered with an agency which assists me in this process. The placement is difficult because many times the teams have not actually seen the players so they are going off of referrals and/statistics. The negotiations are not a lot different other than the language barriers which can cause some issues.
Darren Heitner: I love to see that you are extremely charitable and that you have leveraged Twitter to increase your charitable efforts. Tell me about “Make My Day Mondays” (MMDM).
Scott Norton: Make My Day Mondays is a charity movement which I began 11 months ago on Twitter. It is the 1st ever Twitter-driven charity, and has now branched out to Facebook as well as live events. With the assistance of many of my clients, MMDM is about giving back and helping others. Each and every Monday the hope is that every person will do some random act of kindness to make ourselves feel good, whether its donating to a charity, helping a homeless person or carrying a woman’s groceries. If the person has social media accounts, they are to then post their act of kindness on Twitter or Facebook so that others can follow. It has been a great success, and something myself and clients are all very proud of since it started at the grassroots of our family.
Darren Heitner: Other than MMDM, how have you used social media to benefit you, your company, and your clients? How involved are you with your clients’ social media presence?
Scott Norton: Social Media, and Twitter especially, has been a huge benefit to all of the above. I have made many business and media contacts thru Twitter. Some of my clients’ endorsement deals have begun through my reaching out via SM.
With regards to my clients, I attempt to be very involved with their use of SM. I encourage all of my clients to use SM and show their personalities to the fans. I also try to educate them on the do’s and dont’s when using SM.
Darren Heitner: Who has the best Twitter account and why – you or Allan Walsh of Octagon?
Scott Norton: I hope you are not asking this question in a serious tone. I dont need to be a self-promoting, pompous ____. Octagon is a very successful company and I am sure that Allan is a big part of that, but I do not believe that Twitter or any other public forum is the place for conflicts between player and team.
Darren Heitner: Do you have a specific strategy with regards to recruiting new clients? Do you continue to work on behalf of clients after their retirement from professional hockey?
Scott Norton:Not really a specific strategy, I would say more a certain target for recruiting. For example – after I moved to Southern California, I began recruiting more local players, and that has lead me to working more in the WHL.
I have strong relationships with many of my retired clients, and attempt to assist them in many facets of their lives after retirement.
Darren Heitner: What suggestions would you give to people who aspire to be hockey agents?
Scott Norton: Dont do it! It’s competitve enough. But, seriously – education and experience are the two most important aspects. Schooling is great, but if you dont get out there and work, it will only take you so far.
Darren Heitner: Do you currently offer any internships?
Scott Norton: I do. I currently have one intern helping me, and I am open to others as well. Now that I have branched out into other sports including tennis and golf, I have more work to be done, and many more facets of marketing, so I appreciate the assistance and am happy to help hard working, motivated students who want to learn.