Extreme Sports Agent: Looking Beyond the Obvious

The days of yore, when the Holy Trinity of Doctor-Lawyer-Engineer ruled the roost are far behind us. An old saying goes, ‘It’s a lucky person who can make his hobby a profession’. Jokes about starving artists aside, you really don’t have to choose anymore. There is a virtual smorgasbord of lucrative and creative options out there for everyone. One arena is a career as an extreme sports agent. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

The job of an extreme sports agent precludes a love for extreme sports, a desire to mentor and fine-tuned business skills. It can involve a lot of traveling to exotic places and interaction with different kinds of individuals. An extreme sports agent represents amateur and professional athletes in the sport of their choice. Extreme sports are classified into land, air and water and include adventure racing, extreme motocross, extreme skiing, mountain biking, jet skiing, open water swimming, skateboarding, etc.

A good agent helps his clients’ career by knowing about the best competitions and introducing them to potential sponsors. It also means ensuring press coverage, negotiating contracts and smooth event management.

A winning agent concentrates on much more than just the technical details of his/ her client’s routine. He must be familiar and comfortable with his clients and know about their history. This enables him to relate with them in such a way as to ensure maximum performance. If you are seriously considering a career as a sports agent of any kind, polishing your people-skills is important. In this business, contacts go a long way and the more people you know the better.

In India there are great opportunities for studying sports management in sports such as cricket, football, hockey, golf, etc. Eligibility for admission is to have at least 40% marks in graduation. Bachelors in Physical Education and specialization in any sport is an added advantage. The following institutes in India offer diploma courses in Sports Management:

* Alagappa University, Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, offering one-year PGDSM (Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Management)
* Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Science, New Delhi; offering one-year PGDSM.

* International Institute of Sports Management in Mumbai offers full time and part time diploma courses

If you are leaning towards being an extreme sports agent, do not worry. The job description of all sports agents is essentially the same except for minor changes. Start working somewhere like a ski shop or a water rafting outfit and familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the sport. Hone your skills by taking ad-on courses in public relations, human resources or management. Besides beefing up your resume they will add to your credibility.

A number of universities abroad also offer courses in sports management. Check out the website of the North American Society for Sports Management for a list. Many high ranking college offer this course at both bachelors and masters level. There are online courses available and  correspondence courses and study books are also an option for long-distance study.

With the proper qualifications in hand, you can also go for a career as a sports publicist or manager. The starting salary for a sports manager is around Rs. 30,000- Rs. 60,000 per month. Famous teams and sports-people pay generously for a good private sports manager. An agent’s earnings increase exponentially with the client’s career and the popularity of the sport. The more the client earns from endorsements and competitions, the greater commission cut will the agent take home. If you are a good agent with years of experience and a slew of high profile clients, sky is the limit.

However, keep in mind that you need to be dedicated and hard-working to make it in this field. Unlike desk jobs, this profession requires a lot of thinking on your feet and you have to be business savvy. Be careful to understand the legal and ethical implications of your chosen profession. This is a great option for people who like to travel and prefer an exciting lifestyle with day-to-day challenges. For those willing to work at it, the rewards are plenty.

Akanksha Triguna Sharma

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