Introduction ─ Roles played by sports agencies in the international football industry
The following paper discusses the roles played by different agencies in the international football industry. The 4 FIFA regions that have been discussed in this paper are England, Italy, Spain and Argentina. Among the agencies that are associated with these regions are ─ Wright Wright Wright Ltd. with England, SPORTFIVE with Italy, World Eleven with Spain and IMG with Argentina.
Sports agencies are companies and organizations that use promotional techniques for attracting and retaining their participants. They exist at every level and almost in all of the countries in the world. They serve either as nationally, locally or regionally and if the sport is an international one, like football, then the agency also has a global dimension. The roles that these agencies play is an important one since, they mainly focus on the following major areas ─
- Development and promotion of the particular game, in this case football
- They support and assist a special group of players, right from their youth, attending to their special needs and requirements
- Promotes football as a dimension for learning, social inclusion and personal development
- Development of football as a major sports event both at international and national levels. (Szymanski 2004)
Football agencies, like the ones mentioned above, mainly interact with the players at a personal level through a football agent whose main role or duties is to take care of everything relating to the player. Their roles include
- Overall management of a player’s career
- Negotiations of transfers of players
- Negotiations of the contracts of the players
- Financial planning
- Providing the players with marketing and sponsorship opportunities
- Handling public relation of the players
- Disciplinary issues
- Providing welfare advice to the players regarding their investments, banking, housing and cars. (Dobson & Goddard 2008)
Thus, from the above we can see that on a broader basis, the role of football agencies is to take care of every aspect of a player’s, or their client’s, profession, through the help of a football agent so that the player is able to solely concentrate on his or her game. Football agencies are also initially responsible for negotiating the endorsement and employment deals of their clients and their workload increases once their clients are transferred between clubs. (Michie & Oughton 2007) Since the football agencies often deal with the public relation matters of their players, they closely work with their clients for both promoting themselves in terms of a product and for making money. Larger sports agencies like SPORTFIVE and IMG are not only responsible for finding the incoming sources for their clients but also handle their player’s finances right from filing their taxes to making profitable investments for them. The players almost completely depend on their sports agencies and more particularly the agents for obtaining guidance in the business areas of their lives. The agencies recruit the players from very young ages and guide and groom them so that they are ready for the football drafts. Some of the agents in these sports agencies also possess a background in law so that they are able to understand and help their clients understand the intricate legal matters of their contracts. (Duke 2007)
IMG ─ Argentina
Earlier known as International Management Group, IMG is a worldwide talent agency that was founded by an American lawyer called Mark McCormack. He was able to spot the potentiality of the players who could
Make huge incomes and as their 1st client had even signed golf player Arnold Palmer. They own and operate fitness and sports academies aimed at grooming the football players, right from their youth. They are among the world’s most diversified and premier sports agencies. They operate on a global basis and are devoted to rendering business building results for the players. The role played by them in the lives of their football clients include ─
- Personal training of the football players
- Representation of their clients and management of brands
- Production and distribution of media over various platforms
- Sponsorship sales and management and creation of sports events
- Media sales, media consulting and global sponsorship
- Endorsements and licensing
- Speaking opportunities and broadcasting
- Contract negotiations
- Public relations, personal brand building and marketing of the players
- Media relations and providing crisis and image management and media training.
IMG has covered football from every direction since they provide world class training, represent their clients at events and provide sponsorships. Their contacts, resources and experience allow them to help the football players to attain their individual maximum potential. Not only do they cater to the needs of the young athletes and serious competitors but also to certain weakened players so that their skills receive a boost. Thus, IMG also acts as a booster for some football players. They offer benefits and competitive pays to the players and promote an environment of fun. They are highly creative, imaginative and energetic and believe in teamwork, integrity and in honest and open communication with their clients. Since IMG plays a very diverse role, their diversity allows the football players to widen their knowledge, broaden their career options and access opportunities like legal consultations, event and client management, tax and finance consultations, promotions and administrative support. (Michie & Oughton 2007)
IMG is responsible for finding the best clubs for their players and then they develop and negotiate the proposals in the contracts which properly promote the interests of the clients. Since they have excellent relations with the best brands, both national and international, of the entire world, the players get the best endorsement deals. They are also an international leader of sports marketing and have connections with brands like Iberia and Hugo Boss. IMG provides legal, financial and tax related advisory to their clients. They prepare the income statements of their clients and advice the players on the structure of their individual contracts so as to minimize their overall tax payments. They assist the players in their investment decisions and financial planning. They also advice the players about their specific policies that cover risks which the players take in their careers. IMG has been highly successful and efficient which can be proved through their list of clients which include Oscar Trejo, Jonathan Cristaldo, Maxi Rodríguez and Diego Buonanotte. (Michie & Oughton 2007)
World Eleven ─ Spain
World Eleven are a sporting agency that has taken the passion of football the world over. Although they were founded by Gullierno Tofoni in 1994, they got their FIFA license for international agent for football matches only in 2000. However, in this very little time they gathered a lot of professional experience along with their passion for the game. Although World Eleven is a huge sports agency, they are dedicated towards combining the relationship, power and resources of the international football organization with their maximum input of personal attention and dedication to the football players which is normally seem in the smaller firms. Each member of the sports agency, and not just the individual agents, are directly accessible to all the football players at all times. They have been responsible for negotiating more than $1 billion contracts for their clients while at the same time have provided them with qualitative and quantitative personal attention keeping in mind the individual needs and requirements of each client. World Eleven is also responsible for marketing department of the football players where they aim at creating and maximizing every individual client’s off field corporate relations. They are known to tactically and aggressively pursue business opportunities for their clients at international, national, regional and local levels. (Szymanski 2004)
World Eleven plays a very important role in the lives of the players that they represent since they develop an individual and unique marketing plan for each and every one of their clients. Such a strategic marketing plan not only caters to the individual needs of the players but also allows the players to maximize their earning capabilities throughout their football career while at the same time they are also able to pursue and take part in community related and off field activities. World Eleven also aims at creating newer avenues for the professional and personal fulfillments of the clients so that they are provided with both long term and short term opportunities which will allow them to develop their life, character and community. Since, World Eleven also handles public relations for their clients their main objective in this field includes building and maintaining a positive, likeable persona, image and brand for creating a strategic advantage and marketing efforts on behalf of their clients. This is because, World Eleven believes that each and every client of theirs should possess a powerful public image since it forms a vital part for the development of their client’s careers, both on and off the football field. As their clients grow professionally, World Eleven assumes a leadership role in their lives advising them at every step with their game, investments, housing, banking, in short, with everything in their life so that the clients get the most rewarding and satisfying experiences in their careers.
The main reason because of which World Eleven has been highly successful over the years is that they measure their success based on the quality of the complete relation which they have with their clients. Among the well known players represented by World Eleven include Facundo Fraga, Alfredo Mann, Franco Soletti, Pablo Rudisi, and Andres Cesano. (Michie & Oughton 2007)
Wright Wright Wright Ltd. ─ England
Wright Wright Wright had been established in 1999 by Tony Finnigan, Ian Wright and Andy Gray, who were former teammates of Crystal Palace, along with an independent financial advisor, Alan Payne. Wright Wright Wright is able to recognize the gap that exists in the football agency industry due to the lack of proper agencies is thus, able to provide the footballers with their needs and requirements using their genuine insight both on and off the football field. Wright Wright Wright has now become a sports agency that aims towards providing today’s footballers with a service that includes actual football knowledge not only at the clubs but also at an international level. They are among the best and biggest agencies of England and are continually developing into the best agency of this century that is not only immensely trusted by the clients but also respected. They play a very important role in the lives of their clients mainly because they have direct link with a number of coaches and managers all over Europe helping their client in getting international attention. (Giulianotti 2007)
Wright Wright Wright offers the following services to their clients
- Career guidance ─ They guide their clients right from the beginning to the end of their careers advising them when it is right to shift clubs and when to remain in their existing clubs so that they can develop better. Every decision pertaining to the client’s career is taken after closely discussing with them individually, with family members and existing clubs.
- Contract negotiations ─ Experts at Wright Wright Wright with direct experience in contract and transfer negotiations deal with the player’s contracts. Since they are licensed FIFA agents they handle everything in a professional and legal manner for the betterment of their clients and their clubs.
- Financial advice ─ Wright Wright Wright provides their clients proper advices on certain issues like investing, which is very important since footballers have short careers, taxation, pensions and mortgages. Other than this, financial advisors also help the clients with ISIS, shares and bonds.
- Sponsorship ─ Since Wright Wright Wright are directly linked with a number of important sports brands, like Puma, Adidas, Valsport and Nike, they always find the most appropriate sponsorship deals for their individual clients. They also work towards looking for suitable commercial endorsements for the players in order to enhance their profiles, keeping in mind the player’s individual abilities.
- Legal aid ─ Wright Wright Wright have experienced lawyers who take care of all the legal issues of the players not only relating to their football but also certain personal issues. They also handle the properties of their clients helping them deal with building property portfolios. Some of the players represented by Wright Wright Wright include Damien Batt, Moses Ashikodi, Tyrene Berry, Nick Bailey and Alhassan Bangura. (Dobson & Goddard 2008)
SPORTFIVE ─ Italy
SPORTFIVE is considered to be the number one football agency of the world and is also one of the largest. Over the years this agency has not only fine tuned but has also optimized its marketing concepts keeping in mind the football players and their clubs. SPORTFIVE plays a comprehensive role in the lives of their clients since they have a lot of professional experience in handling and running numerous football projects. They also provide an extensive variety of consulting services to the clients offering them with regular media market studies, market research reports and feasibility studies. SPORTFIVE aims at enlarging the scope of their activities and market position so that the football industry can be developed in every possible direction. One of the main reasons for the success of SPORTFIVE is that they continuously attempt for better innovations so that all the requirements and needs of their players can be answered. They have an alliance with another major company, Lagardère Sports, and together with them strive to become world’s leading agency of the international sports industry. Being a global player, SPORTFIVE is a highly motivated agency and are strongly committed to their clients. They not only possess good communication skills needed to understand the clients but also a deep comprehensive knowledge about football and the overall sports industry. They have a strong desire to create a difference in the lives of their clients both at the individual level and as a team, guiding their clients in the ever challenging world of football. (Giulianotti 2007)
The major roles played by SPORTFIVE include
- Marketing of media rights
- Overall marketing management of a number of esteemed football clubs, which include Atalanta, Hamburg, Paris St. Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin.
- Development, conception and execution of sports related projects along with other companies
- Market research, sponsoring and event management
Although established only in 2001, SPORTFIVE has already joined the race for the beast sports agency in the world setting itself apart from the other agencies by providing its clients with not only sports consulting and marketing but also representing them.
Efficiency of the sports agencies
Each and every sports agency mentioned above, Wright Wright Wright Ltd., SPORTFIVE, World Eleven and IMG, have been highly efficient. They have completely revolutionized the concept of client management establishing itself as not only a dominant marketing tool but also as a business authority. They have helped thousands of elite football players of all ages maximizing their earning capacities and building powerful personal brands. These agencies have taking care of almost every aspect of their player’s career development, right from licensing to contract negotiations and broadcasting opportunities to endorsements. (Dobson & Goddard 2008) The wide rage of services related to the media that is offered by these agencies has also helped the football players gain strategic advantage through powerful positive publicity. These sports agencies are extremely efficient since not only have they been able to attract the best football players in the world but have also managed to retain them through their commitment to excellence and competitive spirit. All of these sporting agencies mentioned above work through an efficient expertise team which knows each of the players individually and also their development potentials. (Duke 2007)
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that these sports agencies are also efficient in their working since each and every individual associated with the agency gives personal attention and commitment to the welfare of the players and are directly accessible by them at all times. They work along with the players throughout their careers delivering to them on a daily basis and catering to the player’s needs and demands both on and off the football field. All of these agencies represent a huge quantity of quality footballers proving their efficiency since the quality of footballers and their individual track records is among the necessary conditions required to determine the efficiency of an agency. The professional experience that these sporting agencies have acquired has not only made them among the elite agencies of the world but also strong players that represent the football management industry and among the foremost leaders of the consulting and sponsorship marketing sector. Being leaders in the world of sports agencies has further helped in improving the efficiency of these agencies since their deep network provides them with outsource work.
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Szymanski, S. (2004) ‘Promotion and Relegation in Rent Seeking Contests’, Economics, Management, and Optimization in Sports, vol. 8, 289-299.