The role of a sports consultant is to market professional athletes, teams, or sport clubs. They help build their client’s profile and secure contracts, sponsorships, and endorsements. They also analyze an athlete or team’s brand and advise on strategies to promote and manage their image.
If you’re a sports enthusiast, you can turn your passion into a thriving business as a sports consultant. Here’s what will set you up to succeed as a sports consultant.
1. A background in sports
Just having an affinity for sports isn’t going to crack it. You need to back it up with solid experience and in-depth knowledge before starting your own sports agency.
Athletes and sports teams want to be represented by someone credible who “knows the game”.
If you played amateur or professional sport, held a part-time job as a golf caddy, worked as a sports journalist or analyst, or volunteered at sporting events, you already have a background to draw from. If you’re fresh out of college, a sports internship can kick-start your career in sports.
2. A relevant qualification
A bachelor’s or master’s degree in sports management, business administration, or marketing will equip you with the knowledge and skills you’ll need to succeed as a sports consultant. It also helps position you as an expert in the field.
If you don’t want to interrupt your career to study, you can take an online course that allows you to continue working while you study. Maryville University has partnered with Rawlings Sporting Goods to offer an excellent online sports business management degree that covers finance, marketing, sport business management, and sports business law.
3. A head for numbers
While strong marketing skills are vital in sports management, being able to crunch numbers is just as important. Remember Cuba Gooding Jr. yelling “show me the money” in the movie Jerry Maguire? The sports person or team you represent has hired you to market them and make sure they’re paid handsomely for their talent.
As a sports consultant, you’ll be negotiating contracts, sponsorship and endorsement deals. A grasp of the principles of finance management, market share analysis, and performance statistics is crucial. This is in addition to handling your consultancy’s finances. A head for numbers is a must.
4. Good networking skills
Breaking into the sports business isn’t easy for a newcomer. It requires persistence and good networking skills. Who you know can open doors to publicity opportunities and help seal deals. If you’re not comfortable with networking, you’ll find it hard to succeed in this business.
Seasoned sports agents have an enviable network in place but If you're a newbie, you’ll have to start from scratch. But where to begin building a network? You can start on social media and connect with coaches, team managers, and corporate sports executives. Next, attend sporting events, join local business and networking groups, and become a member of relevant sports associations.
Don’t limit yourself to your city or country. Sport is global and your athletes and teams may compete internationally, so expand your network world wide. ISPO is an international sport networking group that offers conferences, seminars, and trade shows that will connect you to others in the industry and keep you abreast of trends and developments in the sports world.
A large part of the job of a sports consultant is sales. You’re selling your services, convincing sponsors to invest in your client, and selling a client’s image to the public. Your need to believe in yourself and your client, and possess enhanced powers of persuasion.
As your business grows, you may find yourself interacting with top sports stars, the media, and influential people in the sports business. This can be intimidating. Sports consulting is not a job for a wilting wallflower. You need to be able to hold your own against some strong personalities.
6. The ability to cope with stress
The fact that sport is competitive on the field also makes it competitive off the field. Sport is big business. Top athletes earn big salaries, brands pay big advertising fees, and those working in sports management want to pocket equally big commissions. It’s a thrilling but high-pressured industry. There’s a lot to gain which also means there’s a lot to lose. At times, a deal will fall through, you’ll lose a client, battle egos, or manage an unexpected crisis. The ability to cope with stress and keep a cool head is essential.
If you’ve worked in sports for many years, starting your own consulting agency may be the next logical step. It’s a rewarding business with good earning potential. Your income depends on the value of the athlete you represent. A major league player will net you a bigger commission than a minor league athlete. While a sizeable paycheck is an attractive incentive, for most sports consultants, what draws them to this job is their love for the game.
Published by john paret