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Creative Artists Agency – US Company Ruling the World of Soccer Agency

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Creative Artists Agency (CAA)  is a huge agency in Los Angeles, CA.  They recently reached an agreement to acquire International Creative Management Partners, a sports and entertainment agency.  This deal will change the way sports business is conducted.

Creative Artists Agency has been gradually entering the sports management space. They acquired a Los Angeles-based full-service basketball talent representation agency in February of this year.  Last year, they absorbed Base Soccer Agency.  Base represents 300 international football players, coaches, and managers.

This raises a question.  Is a concentration of power in the hands of a few agencies a positive or negative for the game?

Forbes published an article in December of 2020 ranking the top sports agencies.

  1. Creative Artists AGency led the rankings.  They had a total of over $8.8 billion in contracts management value and $419 million in commissions. 
  2. Wasserman came in second.  They brought in 5.7 billion for their contracts and $331 million in their commissions.  Wasserman had also absorbed a number of smaller agencies.   Many experts believe this improved their value.   Top Value, Mondial promotion and Key Sports were among the absorbed agencies. 
  3. Excel Sports Management ranked third.  They brought in 3.9 million in commissions.

CREATIVE ARTISTS AGENCY MAY BENEFIT PLAYERS 

Managers and established players may consider these conglomerates to be a positive change.  They reduce the competition in the market.  This may help drive up fees for both them, and in turn the agency.

The newly created agency does not have a monopoly.  There are still many other established agencies that clubs deal with.  Additionally, there are individual agents and small to medium sized agencies that cater to clients.

Young footballers may find it more difficult to find good representation.  Football is a very competitive business.  It is more competitive at the higher levels. Hundreds of young players  sign professional contracts with football clubs yearly.  Five out of every six will be deemed surplus to requirements by the age of 21.  Their contracts will end. 

Many footballers who are dropped from their contracts feel lost.  They may not have had college or other careers in their sights.  There have been much focus on this the last few years.  Several players have committed suicide when they were dropped from clubs.  Today, clubs are making an effort to better support their players.

The buying club typically pays the agent during a transfer.  Commission rates are between 5% – 10%.  The value of transfer deals may inflate with another large agency involved..

OPTIONS FOR YOUNG PLAYERS

Although, many young players who are dropped try to find lower level clubs to join.  They hope that they can work themselves back up.  Will it be more difficult to find a reputable agent to help them if the large conglomerates do not wish to cater to this group? 

How can a small agency or the single agent hope to compete with these monster agencies?  At best, an agent may be able to direct their players to a limited set of clubs. Thus, it is highly unlikely they will have contacts to the same network as their larger counterparts.

There is a divide between players who are being followed by clubs and agents, and those who have not been discovered.  In time, this will further divide these two groups.  

Large agencies will continue absorbing smaller ones.  Will this effect player negotiations?  And more importantly, how will this affect the young footballers who aren’t backed by these behemoths.

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