Headline Social Networking Sports Business

Should A Sports Agency CEO Be Social Networking?

I have talked about how out of the few agents who actually have a social media presence, many need to learn how to properly use the networks, not only for damage control, but also because building a strong fan/follower/friend base can lead to more money for the agents and their clients.

In reality, many athlete and agency profiles across various social media platforms are not run by the athletes or top executives themselves.  What too often is the case is that an intern will be given the responsibility of updating Twitter, Facebook, and blog accounts to make it seem like the words are coming straight from the mouth of the athlete or the company CEO, when it could not be further from the truth.  Does this make sense?  In my opinion, no, and if fans/followers/friends catch on (which should not be a hard task), it could be damaging.  Athletes and CEOs, with proper training, can handle the “chore” of posting regularly on these networks, and may even enjoy it.  The one exception for me, is that I will often post updates on my clients’ Facebook Fan Pages just to keep fans updated on achievements of the players and their stats.

It will be much tougher to convince an agency’s CEO to be a regular on social networks than convincing athlete clients (they will probably be on there whether you teach them best practices or not).  After all, why should a CEO bother with the mundane task of sending Tweets containing 140 characters or less, writing lengthy blog posts, or posting updates on Facebook, a site originally created for college students to hookup with and poke each other? recently talked with Forrester Research CEO George Colony in an effort to understand why so few CEOs are personally using social media and whether or not they should be involved, anyway.

  • Fears and issues preventing adoption: Age (most are still trying to switch from the typewriter to the computer), possible regulatory restraints (especially for public companies), risks (of offending customers, partners, BoD and of increased litigation), time.

Casey Wasserman of WMG is tweeting, but he is a young CEO.  Ted Forstmann of IMG and Jonathan Blue of BEST have no Twitter presence.

  • Reasons to tweet: Desire (to communicate and to take risks) and audience (will employees and targeted customers listen, participate, comment, criticize?).

If a CEO has absolutely no interest in Tweeting or posting updates to his Facebook page, then there is no reason that the CEO should be forced or encouraged to do so by anybody.  And the CEO also may be someone who is very risk averse.  More importantly, who is the audience for a sports agency CEO?  Is it only the players?  If so, it will be hard to use updates on social media sites to reach those players.  If current clients follow the CEO, they may enjoy reading the updates.  Potential clients will most likely never read them.  But beyond athlete clients, a CEO’s partners, business acquaintances, friends in the media, employees, etc. may appreciate receiving updates, and this granted information may open up doors for opportunities for the CEO’s business.

There is no mandatory number of Tweets or updates for the CEO.  I know that time is a concern, but how often will a CEO be stuck at an airport staring at his Blackberry waiting for the next incoming email to appear?  In that time, why not send out a Tweet updating the world on something that is going on in your or your company’s life?  It makes the CEO seem more like a human being (isn’t that what he is?), which is something employees and clients appreciate.

And it’s not only about posting content.  CEO’s should be keeping up with what is written about them and their companies, and also what others are writing about other companies (including material written by the competition, themselves).  Truthfully, this site should be a bookmark, and CEO’s should also be watching The Master Twitter list of sports agents/agencies.

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.

4 replies on “Should A Sports Agency CEO Be Social Networking?”

Totally off topic here but just something that i’ve been wondering. When it comes to international players, in lets say basketball. Is it only necessary to be a registered NBA agent to control contract negotiations with foreign teams for a player? Or are there different regulations for each league/country?

FIBA is the controlling body. They recognize NBA certified agents as also being FIBA certified. One can also be FIBA certified without being NBA certified. Additionally, non-FIBA certified agents may team up with FIBA certified agents to escape running afoul of the FIBA rules.

I think using social media is the best way to get out the message that you want to get out about your company. People always want to be in the know and anyone who has any interest in your company personally or in the type of business you operate they’ll find the person who is providing that information. In the coming years I expect more and more people to list “through (insert social networking site)” as how they found out about a job or product.

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