If you’re interested in becoming an NFL sports agent, there are a few things you’ll need to know before pursuing it as a career.
To aid you in this regard, we’ve compiled a breakdown of the ins and outs you’ll need to know in order to achieve your goal. For the best degrees to study, tips for entering the market, or how to avoid the NFL Hot Seat; read on below for the insight you need.
Like most achievements in life, becoming a successful sports agent takes significant hard work and dedication. It can be a highly fulfilling career when your effort pays off, and if you’re as passionate about sports as we are, it might be worth looking into as a serious career.
More than anything else, the most important character trait you’ll need is trustworthiness. If you expect an athlete to put their financial wellbeing in your hands, you’ll have to show that you can put their best interests at heart.
Prospective agents need to have sound interpersonal skills. It takes practice to consistently make a good impression on people, and internships are particularly useful in this regard. With experience comes reputation. The more established your reputation is, the greater your chances of attracting the attention of football’s rising stars.
The road to success
First impressions are incredibly important. You will need to hone a number of skills, including interpersonal skills, negotiation skills, and observation skills. You need to be confident, honest, and hardworking. If you think you have what it takes, the next step is to ensure that you possess the minimum required academic qualification.
Regardless of how talented you may be, the NFL requires that all prospective agents possess at least one college degree. Qualifications allowed for consideration include undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. A degree in marketing, business management or law will significantly improve your odds of success. This qualification must be completed at an accredited academic institution.
The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has one exception to the abovementioned academic requirement. If you can demonstrate that you possess seven or more years of field experience, your certification as a sports agent can and will be considered, regardless of whether you have a higher education or not.
Before getting into a profitable career, an internship is required to provide the much-needed benefits of experience and practical knowledge. You may not earn much (or anything at all) during your time as an intern, but the experience you gain will be invaluable for future success. It’s not all about academic proficiency, life experience is extremely beneficial in any field of study.
Learning how the world of NFL works, getting to know all teams and players, all youth development programs, who the rising talent is, where the fading stars are playing – all of these elements require intimate knowledge of the world of football. It’s not enough to know the statistics either, you have to be willing to get to know people, network and purposefully grow your sphere of influence.
Once you’ve completed your internship, it’s often advised to seek out an established agency instead of striking out on your own from the get-go. When choosing a company to build your career with, do some research on the agency you’ve set your sights on. The key indicators for a successful sports agency are reputation and number of clients.
If you want to start your own agency or become a freelance agent, you’ll need to get certified by the aforementioned NFLPA. Once an application has been approved the agent is free to set their own rates, provided of course that these rates fall within the expected market standards. Ultimately, the key is to not overcharge for your skills, but also avoid undercutting legitimate peers in your field.
Although the average fee from an agent is 5% commission, experienced agents charge as much as 10% for their services. When it comes to multimillion-dollar contracts, 5% is nothing to scoff at, let alone 10%. Some agents forego the commission-based model entirely and offer their services for a flat hourly fee. At the end of the day, the pricing structure depends on personal preferences.
Application for a license requires an initial fee of $2,500. You will need to provide proof of your qualifications and agree to a background check. After attending a mandatory two-day seminar, applicants must complete a three-hour examination on various aspects of NFL and player representation.
Subjects covered in the exam include the Salary Cap, NFL Player Benefits, and NFLPA Regulations Governing Contract Advisors. It is a 60-question, multiple-choice, open-book exam. All material required for studying will be provided to applicants once the application window for that period is closed.
In order to comply with the regulations for certification, agents must be able to afford the annual membership fee, obtain liability insurance, and negotiate at least one contract every three years. You will also be required to attend at least one of three annual seminars.
The average annual income for an NFL agent ranges from $50,000 – $100,000 per year. This income depends on two factors; namely, the number of clients an agent has, as well as the individual successes of those clients. Managing a superstar might appear lucrative at first, but it’s important to remember that putting all your eggs in one basket might not be the best strategy.
Becoming responsible for the success (or failure) of a professional athlete is an intimidating prospect, which is why confidence in your abilities is extremely important as a sports agent. Representing an athlete means you are able to put their needs and wellbeing well above any incentives you might have.
In order to achieve the goal of the licensed operation, prospective agents need to be disciplined and willing to put in the hours needed for success. You need solid life skills and plenty of practice on the nuances of negotiation.
You will have to do plenty of research, for your exam as well as general knowledge. The more you know about the world of football, the greater your chances of success will be.
The greatest sports agents understand that player success is the highest priority. A satisfied player leads to profitable management, not the other way around. If becoming a sports agent sounds like the right job for you, we hope we’ve managed to successfully shine a light on the dynamics of making a career out of it.