Interview With The Athlete
By: Matthew Vuckovich
Angie Akers is a professional beach volleyball player. You can check her out on her website (http://www.angieakers.com). Angie is the first female athlete to be interviewed and we are very excited to bring on more female athletes in the near future. She is represented by Gaylord Sports and has enjoyed everything that they have to offer (http://www.gaylordsports.com). Angie had a stellar volleyball career at the University of Notre Dame. In 2002 she was named AVP Rookie of The Year. Angie was kind enough to chat with me for a little so I could learn what it’s like to be a pro beach player on the AVP Tour.
Matthew Vuckovich: Who is your agent?
Angie Akers: My agency is Gaylord Sports, which also has a marketing division. I work directly with Jim Sanson and Erin Kane (contributor for I Want to be a Sports Agent).
Matthew Vuckovich: When you were searching for an agent, what factors did you consider?
Angie Akers: When I was looking for an agent, the factors I considered were:
- Connections with corporations/potential business partners.
- The agency’s willingness to work for me despite beach volleyball not being a million dollar sport.
- Personality of the staff – how well we can communicate.
Matthew Vuckovich: Did your family have a big impact on your decision in choosing an agent?
Angie Akers: Yes, my husband was very involved in the process. We make big decisions together.
Matthew Vuckovich: Was having a personal relationship with your agent a factor in choosing him?
Angie Akers: Yes, I will only work with someone I know and trust. My career is on the line, so I want to be sure that I trust who I am working with.
Matthew Vuckovich: Why did you decide to hire your agent?
Angie Akers In the sport of beach volleyball, sponsorships are a major portion of earnings. I was looking for a reputable agency with good connections and I believed that Gaylord could take me to the next step.
Matthew Vuckovich: How often do you talk with your agent? How often do you see him/her in person?
Angie Akers: I talk to my ‘agent’ about once every 2 weeks unless we have big news to talk about. I see him in person at my tournaments when it is possible.
Matthew Vuckovich: What factors would entice you to choose a smaller agency or independent agent over a full-service agency?
Angie Akers: Familiarity. If I had a previous, personal relationship with the agent or agency and felt it was a good move, I would be enticed.
Matthew Vuckovich: What are some of the things your agent does for you that you like?
Angie Akers: I like that my agency thinks outside the box. They are creative in coming up with ways to increase my popularity, presence, and income.
Matthew Vuckovich: What are some of the most important factors athletes in general look for in an agent?
Angie Akers: I think the most important factors are finding someone that you trust and finding someone that you believe can get things done for you.
Matthew Vuckovich: What sorts of things did your agent do to help with your career?
Angie Akers: My agency has helped me get organized with my career. They take the pressure of finding sponsorships and alternative ways of making money off of me so that I can focus on training and playing my sport.
Matthew Vuckovich: Since most people have no idea what it’s like to be a professional beach volleyball player, please tell our readers about the experiences that you face.
Angie Akers: Beach Volleyball is an incredible sport that is growing in popularity. As of now, it is not a million dollar sport. As athletes, we must pay for all our expenses and only earn prize money. Our yearly salaries are completely dependent on how we perform on the court, our prize money. A professional beach player must finish in the top 10 consistently in order to break even. Our livelihood depends on sponsorships. With only 18 tournaments per year, there are not many money making opportunities. There is no room for a ‘bad day.’ Having corporate partners, or sponsors, takes some of the pressure off making that payday.
Matthew Vuckovich: What has been the most memorable moment for you in your career thus far?
Angie Akers: Making my first Finals appearance in Chicago this past season is at the top of my list for my most memorable moment. Playing in front of 5 thousand screaming fans was incredible.
Matthew Vuckovich: If you could sum up your game in 3 words, what would they be?
Angie Akers: Aggressive, Consistent, Powerful.
Matthew Vuckovich: On behalf of SportsAgentBlog.com and all of our readers, I would like to thank Angie Akers for sharing her knowledge and experiences with us today. Till next time, be safe and act ethically in the business that you love.