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The Business of Soccer Agents
5 minute read · Issue Number 123 · June 3rd, 2022
Now that most football leagues in the world concluded, players and coaches go on vacation, the offseason begins, and the famous transfer market window opens up.
Fans and media outlets worldwide focus on gossip, rumors, and expectations – all waiting for the acquisitions teams will make to compete in the upcoming season.
Transfers are key in the industry – teams invest in fresh talent to improve the squad and increase the popularity of a club.
You’ll hear about the traded players in the news, but you probably won’t hear about the masterminds driving the multimillion-dollar deals behind the scenes: soccer agents.
Grab a cup of coffee while we talk about soccer agents and their business.
Agents work for the players, and their goals are to provide legal representation, negotiate the most satisfactory deals, and fulfill the best interests of their clients. All professional players have one.
First, players might not have the skills or business and legal knowledge to understand and secure the best terms.
Agents are counselors and negotiate everything from salaries, bonuses, compensations, image rights, and release clauses to other stipulations according to the involved interests.
Secondly, players are usually too busy focusing on their training and do not have the time to attend meetings and travel to find the best deals.
Third, it’s a great business, and it’s why tons of players are represented by their parents or close relatives.
The agent’s role is a sales position – they earn their salaries through commissions.
Agents receive a commission paid by the club on behalf of the contracted player.
Typically, the commission is 3-5% of the accorded player’s salary, but it will depend on the size of the deal and the popularity of the player.
According to L’Equipe, Messi earns an estimated 3,375,000 Euros per month at PSG – nearly 779k Euros a week. His father (who acts as his agent) should be getting an additional 24k Euros per week (~3%) from PSG.
Not bad, huh?
Besides, agents can earn up to 10% of the transfer fee (i.e., the expense between clubs to ‘buy’ the termination clause of a player’s contract).
Neymar’s transfer fee from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain was about 222m Euros – Barca paid his agent (who’s also his father) +20m Euros for it.
The Bottom Line
The business behind soccer agents is massive.
In 2021, European clubs spent $500.8m on ‘intermediary service fees,’ with clubs from England ($133.3m), Germany ($84.3m), Italy ($73.5m), Spain ($34.8m), France ($30.3m) and Portugal ($29.3m) responsible for 77% of the total sum worldwide.
Football agents play a vital role in the careers of professional players, from getting the best deals to fulfilling their interest in playing for a specific team or coach.
And the best part?
One agent can represent dozens of players – multiplying the earnings potential.
For instance, Jonathan Barnett – who represents 388 players – is the highest-earning agent globally, making over 121.1m British Pounds in commissions.
Maybe I should become an agent?
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