How to Become a Sports Agent
Sports Agent Careers & Degrees

A sports agent represents the interests of an athlete, helping them to attain sponsorship, compete in events, and make the most of their career in their chosen sport.

When you become a sports agent, there is a lot more to your job than just showing your client the money.

A sports agent provides career counseling and legal advice, seeks out training opportunities, makes sure their clients is represented at events, looks for media and promotion opportunity, and of course, secures opportunity for an athlete to make money.

As a sports agent, you do not earn a salary.

Your earnings will be based on the earnings of your client.

So your job is to help develop your clients and expose them to the best possible opportunities in order to progress their career.

Education Requirements to Become a Sports Agent

If you want to become a sports agent, it’s essential that you know a lot about sports.

Most people that work in this industry get into it because they are passionate about sports, so you will need to know the game and its rules inside-out.

Being familiar with players, coaches, and other key figures will be essential.

Of course, you will also need to understand the audience of the sport, and what kind of sponsors they attract.

There is no formal education requirement to become a sports agent, however many people in this field have a college degree.

Completing a four year bachelor degree in business, marketing, advertising, sales, or public relations will give you a good knowledge base for your career, as well as make you more attractive in the eyes of future employers.

In every state, you will need to be registered before you are able to represent an athlete.

This usually involves paying an annual fee, along with sitting an exam to first gain your registration.

Strong negotiation skills, good communication ability, and a high work ethic are all important traits you will need to become a sports agent.

Sports Agent Job Description

When you become a sports agent, you will represent a professional athlete.

An agent can make or break their client’s career.

They work to promote them through media opportunity, help negotiate contracts with teams, negotiate sponsorship and terms, and also expose their client to the best possible training and development opportunities.

If a sports agent does their job well, an athlete should only need to concentrate on their game.

An agent should take care of the management, paperwork, legal affairs, and public relations side of their career.

Here are some of the tasks you could be doing if you become a sports agent:

  • Managing public relations for an athlete
  • Managing legal affairs for an athlete
  • Negotiating contracts for athletes
  • Communicating with coaches, and other involved in the sport
  • Ensuring an athlete has the best possible training opportunities

Sports Agent Salary and Career Path

Most sports agents will start working for a large agency.

Usually they will begin their career in the role of an assistant, and work their way up the career ladder until they are looking after their own clients.

The more experience you gain as a sports agent, the more clients you will get, and the higher their profiles will be.

Some sports agents then go on to open their own agencies or consultancy firms.

Some similar roles to a sports agent that you might move on to include:

  • Sales Executive
  • Marketing Executive
  • Adverting Executive
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Business Development Manager
  • Public Relations Consultant

The median salary for a professional sports agent is around $94,000.

This being said, it is important to note that agents will most commonly be paid a percentage of what their clients get.

Some younger agents may earn a salary, plus get a bonus depending on the performance of their clients.

If you are passionate about sports and have very good communication skills, then becoming a sports agent may be right for you.

This can be a competitive industry, but for those with talent there is a lucrative salary available.

Those who succeed will need razor sharp salesmanship, and the ability to understand those around them.

Quite a few years of hard work must be put in, but those who are successful can expect to earn a lot of money.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$38,810
$18K
$21K
$38K
$44K
$62K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alaska- NA -
Arizona$44,880
Arkansas$27,700
California$34,820
Colorado$32,850
Connecticut$47,090
Delaware$32,060
Florida$36,200
Georgia$25,070
Idaho$23,320
Illinois$38,570
Indiana$43,850
Iowa$25,200
Kansas$34,200
Kentucky$44,300
Louisiana$46,920
Maine$27,650
Maryland$44,200
Massachusetts$50,370
Michigan$28,090
Minnesota$39,590
Missouri$35,260
Montana$27,750
Nebraska$28,600
New Hampshire$41,400
New Jersey$57,330
New Mexico$28,410
New York- NA -
North Carolina$33,160
North Dakota$39,620
Ohio$33,090
Oklahoma$33,290
Oregon$28,660
Pennsylvania$43,010
South Dakota$26,490
Tennessee$33,030
Texas$36,960
Utah$22,420
Vermont$43,450
Virginia$40,930
Washington$38,250
West Virginia$36,620
Wisconsin$32,620

The top earning state in the field is New Jersey, where the average salary is $57,330.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New Jersey - $57,330
Massachusetts - $50,370
Connecticut - $47,090
Louisiana - $46,920
Arizona - $44,880
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials, OCC Code 27-2023, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a sports agent do?

A sports agent is someone who represents the interest of an athlete (in contract negotiations, in most cases).

Athletes that are signing their first contracts while they are still very young cannot understand the legal complexities involved, while experienced athletes need guidance handling the contracts for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

The typical duties of a sports agent usually include handling sponsorships, public relations, and financial planning; negotiating contracts; collecting data and analyzing statistics; having expert knowledge of the sports of the client; networking, and so on.

In a nutshell, a sports agent is the professional who is selling his or her clients’ worth to teams in the leagues.

QuestionHow much do sports agents make?

On average, a sports agent can make a little less than $53.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $29.000 and $98.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the client, the sport, the location and so on.

Sports agents that work in California, for example, have the highest average salaries.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a sports agent?

Sports agents can have all sorts of different educational backgrounds.

A lot of aspiring sports agents complete sports management courses (between $192 and $673 per unit).

Some choose to go for a law degree (otherwise, you would have to hire another person to deal with the legal aspects of the job).

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

You might have to get certified through the sports union (the National Football League, for example, sets a $1650 exam fee).

QuestionWhat is the demand for sports agents?

Between 2016 and 2026, the sports agent job market is expected to grow by 3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is slower than the national average for all occupations in the United States.

Even though computers and technology can’t replace sports agents, the demand for such specialists is quite low.

The candidates that possess a graduate degree and are certified will have better job perspectives.

The competition in the field is extremely high.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a sports agent?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree (preferably, complete a sports management program).

You can also choose to major in communications, business, finance, law, administration, or accounting.

A master’s degree will typically take you 2 years to obtain (experts recommend going for the Master’s in Sports Management, in case you want to increase your chances of getting hired).

Once you decide what sport you want to specialize in, you would have to prepare for the sports agent exam.

After passing the exam, agents must negotiate at least one player contract every three years.

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