There are only three sure things in life: death, taxes andScott Boras dominating the sports agent business. With a staggering $2.3 billion in active MLB player contracts negotiated, netting him more than $117 million in commissions, Boras once again leads Forbes’ ranking of The World’s Most Powerful Sports Agents.
Originally an attorney specializing in pharmaceutical law, Boras became an agent in 1983 and promptly negotiated one of the largest contracts in baseball history, a $7.5 million deal for relief pitcher Bill Caudill. Since then, Boras has negotiated the first professional baseball contracts in excess of $50 million (Greg Maddux, five years, $57.5 million in 1997), $100 million (Kevin Brown, seven years, $105 million in 1998) and $200 million (Alex Rodriguez, 10 years, $252 million in 2000). While Boras no longer represents Rodriguez (although he still collects commission on his contract), Boras’ client roster has no shortage of All-Stars, including pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals, Jacoby Ellsbury of the New York Yankees, Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers, and Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals. His Boras Corporation also ranks second on Forbes’ 2015 list of the World’s Most Valuable Sports Agencies.
In second place on our agents list is super-agent Jorge Mendes, whose Portuguese soccer agency Gestifute represents some of the beautiful game’s most recognizable names. The soccer-crazy European market, coupled with uncapped commission rates and rapidly escalating league transfer fees, has allowed Mendes to negotiate more than $950 million in active player deals, bringing him at least $95 million in commissions. Among Mendes’ clients are Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and winger James Rodríguez, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Ángel Di María, and Chelsea F.C. forwards Diego Costa and Radamel Falcao. Mendes is so appreciated by Ronaldo that the star bought him an entire Greek island as a wedding gift this past summer.
Coming in third is Tom Condon, head of Creative Artists Agency football division. A former NFL player himself, Condon has negotiated an estimated $1.5 billion in current league contracts, netting him almost $60 million in commissions. Alongside Condon at CAA are respected football agents Jimmy Sexton (No. 17) and Todd France (No. 33), the latter of whom replaced recently departed Ben Dogra. Together the trio has negotiated some $2.6 billion in active NFL contracts, good for more than $93 million in commissions. Among their clients: quarterbacks Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys, Eli Manning of the New York Giants, Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos, and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, as well as Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, and wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant and A.J. Green.
This year’s ranking has been expanded to include the Top 50 agents across six different sports. Among those represented: baseball (13 agents), football (10 agents), basketball (10 agents), hockey (eight), soccer (seven), and golf (two). While there is only a small correlation between the maximum commission percentage allowable for each sport and the number of agents that make the list (higher commissions do not necessarily mean more agents), there is a much stronger correlation between commission percentage and where the agents appear on in the ranking (higher commissions mean higher rankings). For example, the two sports that allow agents to charge the highest commission rates — baseball (5%) and soccer (10%) — take up 11 of the top 15 spots. Indeed, there is just one football and basketball agent in the top 15 (No. 3 Tom Condon and No. 9 Jeff Schwartz) and two hockey agents (No. 10 Pat Brisson of CAA and No. 13 Don Meehan of Newport Sports Management). It is also worth noting that almost no agent on the list represents clients outside their primary sport, definitively proving that a the world’s most cutthroat industry, specialization rules of diversification.
Creative Artists Agency has nine agents the list, Octagon has five, and both Excel Sports Management and Wasserman Media Group (WMG) each have four in the rankings. The majority of the world’s most powerful agents work for conglomerated agencies like CAA, WMG, Octagon, Excel orRelativity Sports , but 20 of the agents ranked represent 90% of the total client roster of their respective agencies, and many can be considered sole proprietors.
These rankings were compiled through extensive research into the client rosters and contracts negotiated by each agent in the team sports of basketball, football, baseball, hockey, and soccer. The total contract value under management for each sport was then multiplied by the maximum agent commission (or average where no maximum exists) as allowed by each respective players’ association: NFL (3%), NHL (4%), NBA (4%), MLB (5%), FIFA (10%). Thus, agents are ranked in order of the maximum commissions obtainable from the negotiated contracts, instead of the total value of the contracts. In tennis and golf, sports agents do not make commissions from their client’s on court/course earnings, but only from the marketing dollars they help generate, for which they receive an average of 20%.
While agents also earn income from negotiating marketing and endorsement contracts for their clients in the big five sports, the overall value derived from any such deals is negligible for the average player. While no concrete data exists, Forbes estimates that average professional athlete may make an additional 1%-2% of their overall player contract in endorsement earnings, and their agent(s) earn just 20%-25% of that.
source: forbes.com by Jason Belzer