Sports management deals with multiple fields of management and the ones who work closely with athletes are Athlete managers. They are the people responsible for transforming a player into a brand.
Athlete management is working behind the scenes in polishing the career of a sportsperson and to be their brand maker. There is an additional emotional connect involved in this field as compared to managing any other sports brand (goods /services/product).
A job of an Athlete manager is not of a typical nine-to-five job but a 24*7 job where the prime motive of a manager is to focus on the development of their athlete. There are several points to understand and consider before choosing the job of an Athlete manager.
- It’s a job where taking the responsibility of an athlete’s career is directly related to a manager’s career. The responsibility is to build the brand of a player, negotiating on the contracts offered to them and bringing these offers or contracts for athletes.
- Athlete manager is required to have an expertise in marketing and branding and should be excellent on negotiations. The manager should bring business opportunities for the athlete and then should negotiate to get the best deals for them.
- The person should also play the role of a psychologist to his/her athlete. The manager should be able to motivate the athlete in his/her rough time of career and sometimes also in their personal life if required.
- Every manager should have great communication skills with a broader business network. He should bring offers to the athlete using his wider network.
- A manager should create, maintain and groom the good image of an athlete to make him/her into a sellable brand.
- It’s an ongoing responsibility of continuously coordinating with the Athlete and the possible clients for their promotional engagement and other marketing strategies.
- The manager is also like a coach who has to guide and advise their athlete in their career along with creating career strategies for them.
- Athlete managers have to travel to various places to represent their athletes for business contracts or to support them in their tournaments.
But before being a manager, the person should have an eye to recognize talent. Ideally in the present scenario, an athlete manager is either a relative or friend of an athlete who manages or handles their financial transactions as they are the one who realizes the talent of the athlete. So it is important to recognize the talent of any player in their early age and become their manager. Then the manager should bring sponsorship opportunities for the athlete so that they can grow in their sport without worrying about the finances.
Arun Pandey who was the childhood friend of MS Dhoni is also his manager. Pandey recognized the talent of Dhoni and turned him into one of the most valuable brands in India once Dhoni became the most valuable sportsperson. He now has his own company which manages several other sports personalities.
Signing a player early in their career has many advantages which give more revenues to a manager especially if the manager is working independently. A recognized and established athlete generally looks for a reputed management agency to handle them.
The manager should acquire the qualities of good communication skills, negotiation skills, leadership skills and have good financial and business knowledge. Along with all the other skills, the core focus for a manager should be to become a good friend of their athlete rather than just a manager. This one characteristic can make or break the whole relationship between an Athlete manager and their athlete.
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