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A sports agent is a person who procures and negotiates employment and endorsement deals for a player. In return, the agent receives a commission that is usually between four and ten percent of the contract, although this figure varies.


In addition to finding incoming sources, agents often handle public relations matters for their clients. In some large sports agencies, such as IMG and Octagon, agents deal with all aspects of a client's finances, from investment to filing taxes.

Sports agents may be relied upon by their clients for guidance in all business aspects of life, and sometimes even more broadly. For example, hockey agents start recruiting clients as young as 15, allowing the agent to guide the athlete's career before the NHL draft, which happens usually at 18 years of age. Many sports agents have a major in law background, mainly to help understand the large and complicated legal matter in contracts.

Some agents are part of large companies and some are on their own. The number of clients an individual agent can handle and how many his or her employing agency can handle in total are interdependent variables.

Notable sports agents

American Football

Australian Football



European Basketball

Association Football (Soccer)

Golf and Tennis

Ice hockey

Horse race

Large Corporate Agencies

There have been some efforts to transform the sports agency business from an individual, entrepreneurial business, to more of a corporate structure. These experiments have met with varying degrees of longevity and success.

  • IMG - International Management Group a successful corporate agency established by entrepreneur Mark McCormack, originally with a specialization of golf and tennis. After the death of McCormack the company was acquired by private equity group Forstmann Little.
  • Steinberg, Moorad & Dunn ("SMD")- a multi-sport agency sold in October, 1999 for reported $120 million to Canadian financial firm. Defections of principals and litigation followed. Originally led by entrepreneurial agents Leigh Steinberg and Jeff Moorad.
  • Assante Corporation - Canadian public company that acquired the Steinberg, Moorad & Dunn agency, then acquired other agencies in unsuccessful effort to build multi-sport corporate agency.
  • SFX Entertainment (now Live Nation a publicly traded company) - in 1998 SFX agreed to pay up to $150 million in cash, stock and bonuses for F.A.M.E., the sports agency run by David Falk, the agent for basketball stars Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing. SFX also acquired two other major sports agencies, Arn Tellem's agency: Tellem & Associates, and the baseball-oriented firm run by Randy Hendricks and Allan Hendricks. SFX would later reverse course and sell off the pieces of its large sports agency business.
  • Creative Artists Agency: "CAA" - acquired various pieces of the sports agency business of SFX (see above), starting with professional football.
  • Wasserman Media Group: acquired Arn Tellem's basketball agency from SFX.
  • Octagon Worldwide - sports agency business that is part of conglomerate Interpublic Group.

See also

Further Reading

  • The Business of Sports Agents By Kenneth L. Shropshire, Timothy Davis, 2008, University of Pennsylvania Press


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