When it comes to successful sports agents, no one can say "show me the money" louder than mega agent Scott Boras. Representing over a hundred of Major League Baseball's top players in a salary cap free system, Boras has negotiated over $1.6 billion in current contracts with estimated earnable commissions over $83 million. Not only has he carried himself to the very top of the sports agent business, but has also made Boras Corporation the second most valuable sports agency in the world, even among those agencies that represent all other major team sports combined.
With over 30 years of experience, Boras has come to be both respected and often feared by baseball management. His client list includes: pitchers Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals, Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants, Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder, Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez , New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday. Boras was also responsible for negotiating the current contracts of Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez and Mark Texiera, although he no longer represents either player.
Second on our most powerful list is veteran football agent Tom Condon, who co-heads Creative Artist Agency's football division with Ben Dogra (#7 on our list). Condon, a former NFL player himself, has negotiated an estimated $1.32 billion in current player contracts. Combined with Dogra and other agents, CAA represents more than $2.9 billion dollars and 479 years in current NFL player contracts. The agency's football practice is worth more by itself as a single sport division than any other multi-practice agency in the world.
CAA football is the primary reason behind the agency’s overall #1 ranking of Forbes’ list of most valuable sports agencies in the world. Condon and Dogra's client number well over 200 active players, including quarterbacks: Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys, Eli Manning of the New York Giants, Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos,Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, as well as Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions. CAA’s stable of clients also Minnesota Vikings running backAdrian Peterson, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis and Washington Redskins tackle Trent Williams. The agency has represented twelve 1st round NFL draft picks in the last two years alone.
Wasserman Media Group's Arn Tellem takes the #3 spot with some $987 million in negotiated NBA contracts worth an estimated $39.5 million in commissions. Tellem, who many consider the most influential agent in professional sports, leads Wasserman’s basketball practice and has helped propel the agency #3 on Forbes’ list of most valuable sports agencies in the world. WMG’s basketball division includes an all-star list of clients including: Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, Portland Trailblazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford, Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Johnson, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russel Westbrook, and brothers Marc and Paul Gasol. Tellem also represents New Orleans Hornets center Anthony Davis, the #1 overall pick of the 2012 NBA draft.
Our top 10 list includes a equal distribution of agents specializing in each sports of baseball, basketball and football (3 of each) but only a single hockey agent (#10 J.P. Barry of CAA). The lack of hockey agents is most probably caused by the tendency for all-star players in the league to be locked into long-term, lower salary deals, and those players signing with only a few larger, more experienced agencies.
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 and hockey. The value of the contracts negotiated for each agent was then multiplied by the maximum commission (or average where no maximum exists) as allowed by each respective players’ association. Such rates are as follows: NFL (3%), NHL (4%), NBA (4%) and MLB (5%). Thus, agents are ranked in order of the maximum commissions obtainable from the negotiated contracts, instead of the total value of the contracts.
While agents also earn income from negotiating marketing and endorsement contracts for their clients, 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.
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