Australian Football

Course Report: Accelerated Sports Management Program. Part 1.

This is the first in a series of posts reporting on the Accelerated Sports Management Program run by Infront Consulting and Stride Sports Management.

I have been given the opportunity to attend seminars associated with a newly designed course to help students learn more about the Athlete Representation Industry. Run over seven sessions, the course covers areas such as Managing a Client’s Career, Ethical Considerations, Medical and Endorsements to name a few. University students are eligible for funding, making it an attractive proposition for people who are interested in pursuing a career as a Sports Agent.

The first session I attended was in regards to Negotiations and Industrial Relations, which is very topical at the moment considering the NBA has just got out of its lockout and the Australian Football League (AFL) is still resolving its new agreement. The seminar covered areas such as Planning, Contracts and Dispute Resolution. I will now go into further details regarding the areas discussed.

The day started off with a talk from one of the most respected people in the business, Paul Yeomans. Paul had previously worked as an AFL Agent for Stride Sports Management, but has moved into Consulting. Through his business, PMY Consulting, Paul has consulted many top companies, but more importantly the AFL Players Association in regards to its new Collective Bargainning Agreement (CBA). Paul explained that the AFL CBA process is a lenghty one, with there being 8 months between the AFL Players Association first proposing a deal and the AFL countering with its offer.

The current negotiations are quite interesting, with the two sides wanting several different things. The AFL wants to offer a set amount of money in each of the years of the CBA, with the AFL Players wanting a percentage. While both sides want to see the game grow, the AFL Players feel that their monies should not be used to subsidise expansion, an area where the AFL disagrees. There is a very small chance that this will not be resolved, as the clubs are publicly owned, as opposed to the systems that operate elsewhere.

Paul also gave some tips on how to get in to the industry, and a cross section of the roles of the people he employs.

Next up there was a lecture on Negotiations. This included the legal requirements of preparing an agreement, the necessary elements that needed to be included and how the negotiation process works.

An interesting area that was addressed was the process of conflict resolution. The materials provided by the course thoroughly outline the tools in which can help in effectively resolving disputes. The lecture also briefly noted on grievance and industrial action.

In the afternoon, the audience were treated to a lecture by Stride Sports Management GM and current Sports Agent Alex McDonald. The timing of the talk was particularly current as it was the same day as the AFL Rookie Draft, which Alex had attended that morning. Alex’s insight into the contract process was a fascinating one, with him offering examples and challenges he has faced when negotiating with players and clubs. He highlighted the need for constant contact, and to ensure that both sides are satisfied at all times. If anything was to be taken away from the talk it was that communication and knowledge are key.

The extensive reading materials enable students to complete the required assessments with confidence. The major assignments allow students to be creative, with one including drafting an agreement for a player and their sporting association.

The course takes a break over Christmas, but look out for the next post regarding Media, Marketing and Endorsements.

More on the course can be found at their website.