CEO of SMinc, Colin Francke, said the use of a sports agent is essential for an athlete’s career, particularly in the case of cyclists.
“Athletes need to realize that they are brands,” Francke said. “And they need to market themselves as such.
“Sport has become a billion dollar industry. The popular sports are reaping the rewards of financial gain and exposure.”
Being a professional athlete can be expensive, he said. “One of our duties at the agency is to make sure finances are not a reason for a respective athlete to stop competing.
“This can be tricky in the case of the smaller sporting codes. Companies may not always see an effective return on investment.
“We, as agents, represent and assist athletes in all aspects of their careers,” he added.
Francke said being a talented athlete does not necessarily guarantee a successful sporting career.
“Talent is one part of four that needs to be fulfilled,” he said. “At SMinc, we identify and nurture the other three – mental strength, drive and most importantly, financial support.
“We would target appropriate brands to partner with and sponsor athletes. In today’s financial climate, athletes are often happy receiving product sponsorship.
“This is important, because the said products are usually expensive and thus alleviates financial burdens.
“The products would either be used to help the athlete compete or just simply nice to have,” he added.
A company’s main aim of sponsoring athletes with products or equipment is to gain enough exposure to sell more of their branded items.
“We always push for athletes to get their equipment sponsored for them – usually without any expense,” Francke said.
“Though, this depends on the performance level of the athlete and the exposure they can give the brand.
SMinc always aim to meet the needs for both the respective athlete and the sponsor, Francke said.
“We (SMinc) will always try to find a satisfied medium. Sponsors need to know they’ll get a good return on investment, and the athlete must be happy to give their products exposure.
“The given exposure for the sponsor will be stipulated in the athlete’s contract,” he added.
The various forms of exposure vary from branding of the company’s logo on clothes, to broadcasted interview mentions, social media mentions and guest appearances on behalf of the company.
“At SMinc, our ultimate objective is to have clients who value and appreciate what sportsmen bring to the table.
“They (sponsors) love working with athletes who think to the future; who possess a lot of potential.
Francke said at SMinc, they form special bonds with their athletes. “We treat each other like family.
“We take a personal interest in their lives and careers,” he added.