Friday, September 3, 2010

Interview with the agent: Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner is the rising star of the sports business. The former graduate of the University of Florida ('07 Bachelors Degree in Political Science) with a Juris Doctorate degree as well ('10 University of Florida Levin College of Law) at only 25 runs Dynasty Athlete Representation, a dynamic boutique based at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Hey Darren, tell us a little bit about you and when did you decide to become a sports agent.

I decided I wanted to be a sports agent upon completing an internship at Career Sports & Entertainment, a full-service sports and entertainment company out of Atlanta, GA. I interned with CS&E in the summer between my Sophomore and Junior year of undergrad. From the first day at the job, I was given tremendous responsibility and used my 3 month of internship to learn as much as possible about the sports representation industry. I have always been an avid sports fan, interested in law, and was a nationally ranked high school debater. I figured that the sports agent profession was right up to my alley. In an effort to stay abreast of sports-agent related news and get my name out of the industry, I started on December 31, 2005. Eventually, the site really picked up steam. One of our original contributors and I decided that there was no reason to wait on pursuing our dreams of becoming successful sports agents, and in April 2007, we formed Dynasty Athlete Representation, an LLC in the State of Florida. Since then, I have bought that partner out, and I served as the CEO of the company.

Do you need any certification or license to work in this business in the US?

There are different systems of licensing. Large sport organizations like the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL all require agents to become certified before representing professional players within their confines. Some of the leagues make an agent pay a fee, take a test, and even go to annual meetings to become and remaine certified. A majority of states require agents to become separately licensed in order to recruit student-athletes from within those states' borders.

Which are the musts a professional needs to possess to work as an agent?

A short memory and perseverance. It never hurts to actually know what you are doing and even be an expert negotiator.

How do you plan to break out with your Dynasty Athlete Representation into the business?

The plan is to stay true to who we are as a company. We stress the family atmosphere and our knowledge of new technologies. We believe that we truly do stand out from the rest. Once we have a client make major headlines, it will be tough for other athletes to see what we are capable of and not be the least bit interested in our services.

You are very young Darren. How do you see the representation business in the next years?

Definitely changing. There will be more rules/laws in the United States, but international organizations like FIBA may also increase enforcement of its regulations. I think athletes will demand agents to justify their fees, and you might find more attorney agents who are charging by the hour.

What's the most stressful side of the job and your biggest success so far?

You never want to see your client get injured and you always fear that a rival agent will make a promise to your client that might persuade the client to change agents. My biggest success is still being in business 3 1/2 years after starting my company with no clients and not much experience.

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