Sports Agents

Representation Of A Sports Artist?

I recently got an interesting email from Craig Gould, a sports artist based out of Dallas Texas. This was in the body of the message:

I have been painting for years, but I have just recently decided to pursue it as a full-time profession. After some recent brainstorming and research of the market for sports art, it is evident that I would be better served being represented by a sports agent than an art gallery or art agent. I am in need of marketing to the local sports community: teams, athletes and their charities. I need assistance getting the meetings with teams for art to be used for programs, tickets, promotions and merchandise. There is a market for selling original artwork of athletes for themselves, their charities and gifts for teammates. There is a market for limited edition prints signed by athletes for sell through art galleries, memorabilia shops and wholesale distributors. I need help getting the appropriate sports media exposure to generate demand for my work. For a modern artist, it would be a matter of beating the streets and finding the right gallery. In my case, being able to work with someone that can tap an extended network of athlete and team contacts would enable the business to grow rapidly.

I know it’s a little out of the box, but who thought that big name athletes would be signing with Creative Artists? I look at it as an opportunity to develop merchandise for your sports client in house. One of the biggest names in sports art these days is a guy by the name of Stephen Holland. The sell of his originals and limited edition prints signed by the athletes is pulling in $2.5-3M/year. His agent is also Muhammad Ali’s agent and they have done a litany of art releases of Ali, so there’s a case for creating synergy.

So, is a decent sports agent going to think outside the box and consider representing me? If so, who comes to mind? I live in Dallas and have a pretty extensive Cowboys portfolio, so it would be nice to find someone local who represents local athletes.

I responded back to Craig, who has a website displaying some of his artwork at, telling him that I did not think that I personally could be of service to him in the capability that he suggests. But do you think that there are sports agents who would be interested in taking on a client like Craig? Would Craig be better served looking at a different entity to represent his talents, or should a sports agent that may have marketing experience take a shot on a guy like Craig?

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.

9 replies on “Representation Of A Sports Artist?”

If I’m not mistaken, IMG has had a Art+Commerce division for awhile now. I think they employee licensing agents to represent primarily photographers but also various artists. I believe that they do a lot of cross platform integration with there sports divisions in terms of that art and photography.

I’ve never thought about a sports agent representing a sports artist, but it sounds like a good idea to me. If he can find someone to represent him well, I think he will have an edge on his industry.

I work with several athletes in Denver and have worked with Malcolm Farley ( and he has done prints of Jay Cutler, Elway, and Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler. We have had these items autographed and they have sold practically well at charity events. Your best bet would be to contact all the athletes charities and see if you can get into the silent auctions and golf tournaments. In addition, I would contact all the local teams and see if you can get the artwork into the luxury boxes at the stadiums as well.

I am an artist, graduating this semester, and like Mr. Gould, I really want to get into this genre of art. I too could use someone to establish contact and negotiate with athletes. However, more importantly, it seems that if you want to release a limited number of prints, there are an endless list of organizations, and individuals that require image releases and licensing. I would really like to do some work featuring college athletes, but feel bogged down with the university requirements, and the NCAA regulations and licensing. Sports seems like a growing area in art. Twice last semester I sold paintings as I hauled them from a university studio to the parking garage. Many fans are looking for quality images of their team to hang in their den, rec. room, or sometimes the new “theater rooms” that many people are putting into homes. This market has a demand and definitely supply, but there seems to be no clear conduit between the two. I would love to have someone that looked for the opportunities with athletes and organizations, and cleared all the legal hurdles so that I could do what I do best – paint.

I am an amateur hockey artist ( and I can say from my experience that the biggest issue with sports art is the licensing and selling of team’s intellectual property. The intellectual property rights are governed by the leagues and they are pretty heavy handed about who they grant rights to to reproduce and sell. Surprisingly, they are also very controlling about the selling of individual players likenesses as well, even if team logos are not used in the artwork.

I would suggest reading up on the case of “Daniel Moore vs, University of Alabama” to read more about this – it is a huge issue for sports artists right now and the outcome of this case will impact many pros and amateurs.

I think the better route for sports artists is to align themselves with businesses who already have the licensing rights established with the teams – for example trading card companies and licensed memorabilia distributors. Then the whole licensing issue is already resolved – I doubt individual sports agents will have much success negotiating licensing rights for sports artists, nor would I think they would want to deal with it.

For more sports artwork discussion, visit my blog at:

[…] Back on February 27th, I wondered if there was a market for representing sports artists.  Coincidentally, that same day, contributor Matthew Allinson announced that only one day earlier, he took on a client who is a graphic designer specializing in sports cartoons, logo creation, and other illustrations.  Now I ask a new question, and I highly doubt that Allinson is going to submit a post about it later today…what about representing an Etch A Sketch artist?  I am not talking about any Joe Shmo Etch A Sketch artist here.  The guy has to be the best I have ever seen (Disclaimer: I am not very well versed on the Etch A Sketch) and loves drawing sports-centered pieces.  George Vlosich III has been honing his etching skills since 1989 (when he was 10-years-old) and is most well know for his etch of LeBron James. […]

I would love to see some of Scott Gould’s sports art. May have some ideas for him, but I would need to see the art to know what suggestions to make.

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