Nov 10, 2022

Differentiating Sports Lawyers and Sports Agents

Differentiating Sports Lawyers and Sports Agents

In sports, you can’t simply show up on the field and expect to participate in the NFL or similar leagues. You must go through a lot of training, and then you need someone to represent you and help you live the life of a professional athlete. But that role is actually two people: a sports agent and a sports lawyer. Continue reading to learn the differences between sports lawyers and sports agents.

What Is a Sports Agent?

Part of what makes the distinction between agents and lawyers confusing is that sports agents are often lawyers, though it is not required. When you’re a sports agent, you take care of your clients, the athletes. A sports agent will:

  • Manage public relations
  • Book public appearances
  • Book hotels
  • Find and sign new athletes

Many sports agents will also negotiate different contracts for the athletes they represent. These contracts can be between the athlete and different sponsors or events that want to hire them for an appearance fee. Agents will also critique and negotiate contracts between athletes and the team that they’re on, ensuring that the athlete obtains the best deal possible for their respective talents.

What Is a Sports Lawyer?

If that’s what a sports agent does, then what exactly does a sports lawyer do? Well, an athlete may work with a few different kinds of sports lawyers. One is a personal sports lawyer that knows how to manage an athlete’s complicated assets and family relationships, which often spill over across state lines. This lawyer is specifically for you, whereas a traditional sports lawyer works for different teams, leagues, and governing federations. These lawyers sit opposite an athlete’s sports agent when it comes to contract negotiations, but they’ll also:

  • Handle media deals
  • Advise on purchasing and selling teams
  • Focus on intellectual property and sponsorships
  • Defend the team and players against lawsuits

Lawyers are critical for the infrastructure of a team or sports organization because they handle all the minutia of deals, contracts, partnerships, and negotiations, among many other things.

The Differences

As mentioned already, a sports agent will work for you to ensure you are taken care of, and a sports lawyer works to make sure you’re doing things right for the team. For example, if a new sports drink wanted to sponsor an athlete, a sports agent would be the intermediary between the two. However, during this negotiation process, the agent also works with the sports lawyer for the athlete’s team to ensure everything works by their standards and that there are no conflicts with other brands.

While sports agents and sports lawyers can work together, their differences make them unique positions. If you’re an athlete, you work with an agent and a sports lawyer, but you should also consider hiring your own attorney. Here at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, we are some of the best sports and entertainment attorneys in Illinois, and we can help protect you, your family, and your assets!

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