How To Be A Great Sports Agent: Marketing Pt. 2 – Forbes – Forbes
Every player coming into an NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL draft will want to hear about what an agent can provide in marketing concepts and execution. Veterans in those sports may feel underutilized. Athletes of individual sports are very focused on marketing. Coaches and broadcasters will also want to see a marketing presentation. An agent needs to develop a philosophy on how to market a client and have the contacts and relationships to translate that into action.
The meetings that athletes, coaches, and broadcasters have to decide on representation may have parents, family friends, or university compliance panels as the initial screeners. If the first presentation is not compelling, the agent may be immediately eliminated as a candidate. The first key is to realistically project what a client may have available as marketing and endorsement offers in the future — which will be largely based on draft position, being a starter, the position a player plays, team success, and the personality and speaking and networking skills of the individual. Researching past press interactions, speeches or charitable activities help make this assessment. It is important to underpromise and over deliver. Clients will remember every promise made in a presentation. When agents promise an Offensive Guard in the NFL or a non-starter that they will be a national star, it is a big mistake.
Any marketing plan needs to be built around the level of interest in doing marketing and willingness to spend the requisite time of a client. These are questions that need to be asked. The presentation can be oral but should involve a packet or deck which is visually compelling. The best presentations provide a timeline for what to expect at different junctures of a player’s career — pre-draft, rookie year, veteran status, moderate success, stardom and superstardom. I have included pictures of a potential client on magazine covers or mock print displays. Examples of other clients marketing success will be impressive. A list of relationships that the agent has with specific companies, advertising agencies, television executives should be included to show the capacity to perform.
Athletes can do deals as draftees — clothing, apparell, and shoes being the centerpiece. There are multiple shoe companies who have massive marketing campaigns built around athletes. The right campaign by a major shoe company with great production values can catapult a player to household name status and stimulate other deals. 20% of the population may follow the NBA, but Michael Jordan has 100% name recognition. This is because Nike featured him in high production values spots which ran over and over again on television. Jordan’s Nike ads then led to Buick, Hanes, and other companies which saw his appeal
The second pre-draft deal that can be done is a trading card deal. Panini, located in Dallas obtained exclusive rights to NFL trading cards in 2016. Rookie cards are a separate category with Panini, Leaf, and Sage all doing sets for draftees in the NFL, MLB, and NBA. In early 2016, while being co-counsel for Paxton Lynch, Chris Cabott flew to Dallas and met Panini management which led to the largest rookie trading card deal ever. Headphones are also a target for pre-draft deals. Beats had rookie Jameis Winston wearing their earphones at his draft watching party.
A rookie may have all his marketing done by his agent, or by one of the many marketing companies, or a mix and we will talk about career marketing considerations and who is best qualified to meet those needs.