‘Managers are critical’ - Myers, Lee stress importance of brand administration during pandemic
With fewer sporting events taking place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, sports consultants are encouraging athletes without a manager to get one to help them overcome the difficulties of this period.
Dalton Myers says that although it has always been important for an athlete to have a sports manager, the pandemic makes the business of sports trickier.
He highlighted some difficulties an athlete without a sports manager could face during the pandemic.
“They don’t have someone who has a particular expertise to help them navigate the respective challenges that are about right now,” Myers said. “There are so many changes, whether it is changes in the US as it regards visas. Visas are expiring, and embassies aren’t open. Persons are stuck here but need to go back to training, or a contract is expiring come this year. They need someone who is going to negotiate it for them.”
Myers says athletes with a manager are better able to solve these challenges and are able to get help in other areas.
PROS OF HAVING A MANAGER
“A manager helps with problem solving, helps with curating a brand, helps with the athletes getting additional funds and, importantly, staying out of trouble,” he said.
Athlete brand manager Tanya Lee agreed that it would be best for athletes to have a manager deal with the business aspect of the sport.
She said that sports management varies in every sport but mentioned some benefits of having a manager in track and field.
“In track and field, an agent is the most critical part of the sports management mix, and I also believe it is useful for an athlete to secure a brand manager to hone their brand look and brand voice and to give them one-on-one attention so they can gain endorsement deals and become or remain top of mind to their fans,” she shared.
Lee says this will also give athletes an opportunity to secure multiple sources of income and help them earn during the pandemic even while not competing.
“No matter the sport, those salaries from competing are important, but so is that lucrative shoe contract and those brand ambassador deals,” she said. “There has been a considerable shift over the past 10 or so years where the world’s most elite athletes earn more from endorsements than they do from salaries and prize monies.”
Myers agrees that a sports manager is important to help build an athlete’s brand and says that Jamaica has some good managers. But he thinks the country could do better with more.
“I think that there are more people who can come on board. I think there are some talented young people coming up in sports management,” he said. “We don’t have to just limit ourselves to just Jamaicans who are just residents in Jamaica, but Jamaicans or Caribbean people who are in the diaspora.”