Sports Agents

Lunch with the Boys

Guest contribution from an entity within the sports representation industry.

Let me begin by saying that I’m excited to be part of this blog, and reassure you that I’m not here as the proto-feminist of the group. I would, however, like to give voice to some of the topics that we women in this industry rarely hear addressed. When I was discussing this opportunity with a young agent in my office, he said he’d love to read about anything he hasn’t seen hashed out a hundred times before. I laughed because I guess the topics I want to write about fit the bill!

I continued to think about potential topics for this blog, the sports agent industry and the company I work for in particular as I prepared for a talk I was scheduled to give to a group of undergraduate students in the Sports Business Association at Arizona State later that afternoon. As I arrived in the lecture hall I noted that the group consisted of about 50% women. I thought that was interesting, and more interesting still was the fact that when I asked how many students wanted to be agents, more than half that raised their hands were women. Yet during the question and answer portion of the talk they hesitated to ask the question, “What is this industry like for us?” I wasn’t surprised that once the topic was broached there were lots of specific questions, and they were eager and grateful for answers.

Their queries came back to me at lunch today. I’d gone to a local Italian joint with three (male) agents from my office and a younger baseball client. The ballplayer considers me a friend, and although experience suggests that most women should be wary of that label from most ballplayers, I went along. From past lunches, I knew what I was in for, but I chose to be included.

Lunch was peppered with business talk about contracts (his and others), how people are doing in the playoffs, and discussion of University of Arizona’s football program. I say peppered because in between we, or rather they, talked about other topics that used to make me blush and are certainly not appropriate for a public blog. I have no way of knowing if they censored themselves at all or if I’ve succeeded in becoming one of the guys, so I laughed along as usual, but kept thinking about the young women at ASU, their aspirations and the reality of sports agency as I’ve experienced it.

I expect that my experience is similar to that of other women, and I think it’s worth talking about. But beyond writing from a personal perspective about working in what has long been a man’s industry, in the coming weeks I’d also and perhaps more importantly like to post about marketing female athletes, about the differences in representing men and women, and about the particulars of women in sports in all capacities. I welcome the opportunity to think more about questions I have, discuss them with colleagues and write about them here. I hope also to hear from you about subjects that, for all their obviousness, still feel taboo.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

2 replies on “Lunch with the Boys”

Great post Erin. I’m not female, however I’m very interested in your perspective/experience. I have a few questions for you, can imagine your situation is extremely interesting. Would love to see you touch upon issues such as representing male athletes in sports such as basketball and football. Is focusing on female athletes (WNBA, tennis, volleyball, etc..) the way to go for female agents, or is it possible to break the barrier and venture into male dominated sports? I can’t think of any female agents in the basketball circle, are there any for the 3 big leagues?

Females can be publicists, PR and marketing bosses, etc.. within Sports Agent companies, however I can’t think of any agents. It’s easier to break into the entertainment/talent agent world, right? Is this because there is less macho mannerisms, or just preconceived ideas forcing women into that realm? Is the relationship between male athletes-female agents as strong, or is there tension/second guessing their motives constantly going through your mind?

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