A Decade Of Sports Agent Blog

It was December 31, 2005 when I decided that I would create a blog dedicated to the business of sports agency. It was originally intended to serve as a platform for me to stay abreast of topics related to sports agents and make some connections in the industry. In fact, its first title was, I Want to be a Sports Agent, as I was a Junior at the University of Florida with a desire to one day represent professional athletes. Soon thereafter, I purchased the domain name and changed the website to Sports Agent Blog.

Ten years later, this website still exists, largely thanks to the many tremendous contributors that I have been blessed to work with over a decade of time. If forced to credit one thing for my rise in the world of sports business, it is the creation of this website and the hard work of those who have helped to continue to create new, impressive content.

Today, I represent many athletes with regard to their legal concerns (at Heitner Legal) as well as for marketing related work (at Dynasty Dealings). I am also blessed to work alongside a variety of agents spanning across major sports, ensuring that all of their legal questions are answered and issues handled with care.

Once upon a time, I desperately wanted to become a sports agent. I could have never guessed that my initial drive to enter the world of sports agency would lead to a career as a legal practitioner supporting sports agents, a writer discussing the most important sports business issues of the day and a Professor teaching Sports Law at the University of Florida and the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Who knows what the future will bring. The world of sports agency has changed dramatically over the past ten years.

There have been major NCAA issues, including but not limited to those surrounding Andy Oliver, Marvin Austin and James Paxton. I personally handled a matter concerning former University of Miami football player Dyron Dye.

Many agents have been fined, disciplined and/or suspended over the past decade. The late Gary Wichard was suspended for having impermissible communication with the aforementioned Austin. Agent wannabe Teague Egan had his certification revoked. Many others have been punished. I got a nice win for an agent hopeful, Cleo Floyd, reversing a prior NFL Players Association decision that had refused his certification as a Contract Advisor.

The last ten years has seen the creation of many new agencies, mergers and acquisitions, and the downfall of others. We covered the creation of Blue Entertainment Sports Television (BEST), which was later bought out by Lagardere. A May 2010 article on this website looked at the “State of the Sports Agent Industry.” It explained that IMG Worldwide (which since was purchased by William Morris Endeavor) had exited the representation of team sports athletes for their on field deals. Creative Artists Agency had become a player in the business. CAA represented LeBron James at the time. Now, King James’ agent is his childhood friend Rich Paul. Wasserman Media Group was led by super agent Arn Tellem. He has since left to join the Detroit Pistons.

In recent past, Jay Z started his own agency, Roc Nation Sports. Relativity Sports lost its CEO Happy Walters. One constant about the sports agency business is that it is always changing.

Today there are agents representing MMA fighters and eSports players. Those niches did not exist a decade ago.

There are efforts to change the fees required to be certified by the NBPA and the potential to reduce the maximum fee that NFLPA Contract Advisors charge their clients (from a current maximum of 3% to 2%). Some athletes have recently decided to enter professional sports drafts without the assistance of a certified contract advisor.

The future of the sports agency business is exciting, indeed. With challenges come opportunities. I know, no matter what, I will be involved in some shape or form.

Happy New Year!

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.