Experts in Sport: The truth behind the role of the sport agent in the football industry

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Negotiating contracts and securing important deals are what sports agents are known for, but how else does the role extend within professional sport?

In this week’s Experts in Sport podcast, host Martin Foster (Applied Sport Management Lead), sits down with Simon Bayliff, Founder and Managing Director of ARETÉ, and ex-Arsenal FC and now Beijing FC professional footballer Nico Yennaris, to delve further into the world of talent management in the football industry.

Simon set up ARETÉ six years ago as a holistic management service working across talent representation, sales and sponsorship, brand management, content and social media.

He has worked with some of the biggest names in sport over the last 25 years, including David Beckham, Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, Mark Cavendish and Daniel Ricciardo.

During the episode, Simon and Nico speak about some of the negative perceptions surrounding the football industry, also detailing the changes in agent regulations surrounding the representation of young players:

“I would say that it's like any industry, there are always going to be really good operators and sadly, there’s always going to be not so good operators, and it tends to be the not so good operators that end up shaping what the public perception is of the agency world,” Simon explains.


Simon also talks about ARETÉ’s approach to sports agency, explaining how its holistic ‘360 approach’ benefits its clients:

“One of our unique selling points is that we're here to empower greatness in our clients and that means that we have to sweat the small details, the one per cents.

“Yes, we need to do the important job, which is negotiating great contracts that secure our athlete’s futures, but around that, we make sure that we're pursuing excellence in every element of what we do for our clients.”

Nico added his perspective from the client point of view:

“With some agents you don't hear from them for a while, until maybe your contract is coming up for renewal. Then there's other agents that are very hands on and build their relationship from early on with the player.

“So with Simon, for example, there was one off-season that I felt like I needed to get stronger, and more powerful in my game.

“I asked him if he knew anyone outside of the football network that specialised in strength and conditioning in power and strength training, and he put me in touch with somebody that he’s known for many years. From this, I was able to play a full season without missing a game.

“Everything is very much dependent on the relationship with the agent and the player and the agency in general. I’ve been fortunate that that this is ARETÉ’s view on how they want to be agents, and it's benefited me massively in my career.”

Loughborough’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences offers a Professional Certificate Programme for Sports Agents. More information on this programme can be found by visiting HERE.

The Experts in Sport podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia with new episodes launched every two weeks.

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