Not every sport agent is going to be respectful of their rivals. When they commonly say that sports agents do not sleep, it’s due to the mere fact that agents become worried, or concerned that their rival agents will try to steal their clients from under them. Signing a representation contract does not always guarantee the agent will have that client forever. Infact, there are agents who win over athletes, go through the process of signing, and the rival agent will still recruit the athlete to become one of their own. Unfortunately, clients will leave their current agents for another-but, it’s nothing to lose sleep over. The client was obviously going to drain the agent in the first place. After-all, athletes payout their agents a generous sum of money (3%), therefore, the clients may attempt to amass some of the money back by having the agents pay for all of the personal needs, equipment, travel, etc. No one said the sports agent world is easy.
“Increased competition in this market has forced agents to find ways in addition to salary contract negotiation to increase their revenues” (Shropshire & Davis, 2008, pg. 38). Agents offer several services, aside from just financial or contract advice. These services include tax planning, medical, financial planning, psychology, entertainment, etc. The more services an agent has to offer their clients, the larger the amount of fees the agent or business can collect (Shropshire & Davis, 2008). Competition has become extremely fierce between sport agents, and they must develop new strategies in order to persuade their athletes to sign representation contracts: some agents lead towards unethical and manipulative behavior. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast. Such unlawful situations have occurred many times in this industry. A number of complaints have been reported such as stealing clients, circulating lies about other agents, and offering players “improper inducements” (Shropshire & Davis, 2008, pg. 55).
There may not always be punishable consequences for the agent who steals a client away from another, but, if the athlete is worth it, there are actions that can be taken. “The action is based on an economic tort called “interference with contractual relations.” If you have a legal contract with your client and the rival agent is the cause of your client breaking your contract, you may have a claim” (Heitner, 2010, para. 3). Obviously, there are professional and respectful ways to go about firing against an agent who has stolen a client, but, it does not always guarantee a promising outcome. Reporting such issues to the agency that employs the agent, reporting to one’s own agency, discussing the issue with the former client, coaches, etc. may help put a stop to this situation, aside from filing a lawsuit against the agent. As the industry becomes more enticing for potential agents, the rise of unethical behavior will continue- and the harder it will become to dispute such issues.
“It’s a huge problem. . . . . We have a contract with players, and there’s got to be some honor among thieves. But there is not. And I think that that goes on daily”- Agent David Falk (Shropshire & Davis, 2008, pg. 55).
Heitner, D. (2010, June 17). Sports Agents Interfering With Contractual Relations. Retrieved from http://sportsagentblog.com/2010/06/17/sports-agents-interfering-with-contractual-relations/
Shropshire, K.L. & Davis, T. (2008). The business of sports agents (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.