A sports agent usually begins a career by getting a job at an already-established sports agency and gaining the trust of athletes and professional sporting organizations. At some point, sports agents who solidify enough connections within the industry often start their own businesses specializing in the legal and business aspects of signing athletes to contracts. Sports agents must be registered with various leagues and schools.
Not all agencies require college degrees. However, a four-year college education with an emphasis in law, marketing, communications or sales definitely helps aspiring sports agents. Earning an internship with an agency is one of the best ways to get an inside track to future employment in the industry. Most importantly, sports agents must develop relationships with everyone involved in the sports industry, including athletes, their families, coaches, general managers, team presidents and league officers. Agents handle contract negotiations, public relations, sponsorships, endorsements and financial planning for athletes.
Although a law background is not required, sports agents should be familiar with contracts, labor laws and regulations in various states. Agents without a law degree may have to hire an attorney to review a contract before an athlete signs it. Some states, such as Texas and Florida, have strict laws that regulate sports agents. In some instances, agents have gone to jail for illegal activity. California also has specific laws that regulate the legal aspects of professional athletes' careers.