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Where are all the Athlete Managers?

Assisting our Olympic Athletes


Yesterday most of our Olympians returned home to a welcome ceremony hosted by our PM, and no doubt many will try and “make hay (find new sponsors) while the sun shines”. For most, the search for new sponsorship partners will be unfamiliar ground so they will look for a Manager/Agent to help them. Sadly they will find their options are very limited as the depth of Australian-based athlete managers that have the required skills to offer value to our Olympians is very limited The big players such as IMG, Octagon and TLA are all highly capable, but are also highly selective in procuring new talent and a gold medal is no guarantee they will open their doors.

It frustrates me no end the lack of talent management options available to our sportspeople. I have two children about to gradate with a Bachelor of Sports Management degree and they will tell you these courses only skirt around the edges of true athlete management. Let's be clear - there is a huge difference between learning sports management and becoming a successful athlete manager, in particular the sales skills required.

When asked about what M5 Management's business involves, I say ‘my business is a athlete management company that educates clients on maximising their personal brand so we are best positioned to secure income (Sponsors) from their career as a professional sports person’.

After which I would typically get the a varity of responses:

  1. Wow that sounds interesting

  2. What do you really do!!

  3. “Who do you manage? Anyone famous?

  4. And “show me the money”

The movie Jerry Maguire and that iconic “show me the money” scene has inspired many sports loving executives to follow their passion and take the leap into sport management. I’ve known some highly credentialed business executives that have found their new careers as athlete managers a very challenging adjustment. In simple terms they under estimate the day to day sales requirement that is a prerequisite, and it is not long before they retreat back to their previous careers

A successful athlete manager understands the value they offer their client is the capacity to secure new income. I’m not saying that the skill in negotiating a new playing contract, sponsorship renewal or preparing a compelling athlete proposal is not valuable, what I am saying is the ability to prospect, cold-call, evaluate an opportunity are the skills that matter the most.

In two years time the Gold Coast will host the Commonwealth Games and one of the charters of the GC2018 is To contribute to economic growth by working with our partners to promote Queensland tourism, trade and investment.

One contribution that GC2018 could build with Griffith University (GC2018 Official Partner) is the creation of a real world Athlete Management degree. It would be a great legacy to build an innovative course (comparable on an international scale), support our future Olympians and potentially reduce the long term reliance on the AOC for athlete funding.

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