"The Pro Ex team of consultants allows us to offer the professional athlete an unmatched wealth of information to ensure the success of his career, both on and off the field," stated founder David Morway. Services range from contract negotiations and estate planning to product endorsements and public speaking development.
ProServ, based in the Washington, D.C., area with additional offices around the world, has athletes under contract in a wide variety of sports. One of the nation's premier sports management firms, it has had excellent success in obtaining endorsements for its numerous clients, including Boomer Esiason, Michael Jordan, Greg LeMond, Brandy Johnson, Karch Kiraly, and Stefan Edberg. In addition, Pro Serv has organized events for companies to sponsor in the field of sports and athletics. In the fast lane of sports excitement and sports show business, only individuals with high energy levels and excellent negotiating and interpersonal skills should seek employment with a sports management company.
Many of the one person firms have evolved into management companies for their individual clients. They may manage client's mates and arrange product endorsements, earning a percentage of the profits in the process.
Agents for Non athletes
Another important trend has been the movement for non athletes associated with sports to seek agent representation. Presently professional and college athletic coaches, radio sports talk show hosts, television game analysts, umpires, and other sports related people utilize agents to handle their contractual arrangements.
Typical of agents representing these individuals has been Richie Phillips. As a well known attorney and representative for several players and coaches as well as the Major League Baseball Umpires Association and National Basketball Association Officials, Phillips has played an important role in negotiating contracts. Phillips said that "the representative lends objectivity to a situation, since the player or management may not be able to evaluate the athlete's contribution to the team, that is, the player's bargaining position." He has served his clients through careful examination of the language of contracts; for example, the wording of no cut clauses. "If you're interested in the career, attend law school and do a good job for your clients," suggested Phillips.
For many years, players made their own arrangements with the team owners. With the introduction of television, rivalries between leagues, and the expansion of players' legal rights, salaries accelerated greatly. Many athletes in past years were underpaid for their performance; today some players are grossly overpaid. Hopefully, a leveling of salaries will occur before sports are seriously damaged in terms of public support.
Opportunities for agents in the future will remain small (presently there are approximately 2,500 agents in the United States and Canada), but the salaries will continue to be excellent. If you're interested, the best background is law and accounting meshed with outstanding communication skills, because if you can't convince an athlete to become your client, you can't get to first base!
The following book may prove beneficial to aspiring agents: An Athlete's Guide to Agents by Robert Ruxin, published by Stephen Greene Press.
Sports Careers and the Internet
The growth of the Internet has expanded the horizons of available information about sports. This includes information related to employment possibilities as well as details of interest to practitioners in various fields.
For example, many professional organizations maintain Websites through which you may access information. All you need to reach any such site is a computer with a modem and access to the Internet through a commercial on line service or other provider of Internet services. By keying in a phrase such as "women in sports" or "Women's Sports Foundation," you can gain instant access to a wealth of information. The Web site for the Women's
Sports Foundation includes the following details:
1. background information about the organization including its goals, leadership, and members
2. a description of four basic program areas: education (including a listing of publications and videotapes available through the Foundation); opportunities such as scholarships and grants; advocacy for change in policies, social patterns and laws affecting female sports and fitness participation; and programs honoring accomplishments of women in sports.
The site also includes membership information and the organization's telephone numbers and mailing address.
Information for coaches and other sports professionals can also be found on the Internet. For example, the Journal of Basketball Studies is an on line magazine designed specifically for sharing information about effective coaching strategies.
Those seeking employment in sports related areas can also use the Internet during the job search process. The Internet can be a great asset when it comes to looking for a job. Services such as "America's Job Bank" and other on line job listings provide information about job openings around the country. You can browse through such listings and identify jobs of possible interest. Some listings allow you to search by job title or category. If you're interested in coaching, you might look under "education," "sports," or some related category. You can also limit searches to individual states, specific newspapers, or other characteristics.