Some professional gamers employ agents to handle their branding, contract negotiations and sponsorship deals...
What is an agent?
Like traditional sports, an agent is someone who looks after a player's best interests, whether that's securing sponsorship deals, handling their image or negotiating better contracts for them.
An agent will represent a player, handle paperwork and usually look after the legal aspects of their career, allowing the player to focus on playing and doing their best on the virtual field of play.
They will aim to do whatever's in the player's best interests - and will usually take a commission on deals and contracts secured.
Some agencies may also act as personal assistants to the players, managing their schedules, such as booking accommodation and travel for promotional activities. Others will handle a brand or player's image or arrange commercial partnerships on their behalf.
Good agents will also help the player transition to another role after their career as a pro player is over. They may also handle some elements of life coaching, events and marketing and PR.
What skills are required?
Player agents will need to have strong negotiation, networking and communication skills. Like sales people and recruiters, they will need to have a knack for building relationships with key stakeholders.
Agents must be skilled at selling the players they represent, and showing to teams and partners why the player deserves a good deal.
They will also often be well versed in contract law and other legal areas of employment. Because of this, some legal firms will have agencies and offer player representation.
Of course, player agents will also need a good reputation and understanding of the esports industry, along with a solid contacts book.
A degree of outside-the-box thinking and the ability to come up with fresh solutions is also required. For example, if an agent believes their player is worth more than a team is willing to pay, they may negotiate other incentives such as optional extras and individual performance-based bonuses over a certain time.
Hours and salary
Agents will often work around the clock for their clients, so as such this is not a usual 9 to 5 type job, and is difficult to state a specific wage.
While there are more agencies emerging within esports, there are also self-employed agents, who probably won't receive a regular wage, but will get paid once they have secured a deal or a contract for the player(s) they represent.
Agents may also receive revenues based on royalties or performance/time-based bonuses mentioned above.
In other sports, it's not unusual for agents to receive hundreds of thousands of pounds for each player they represent, and in football this can stretch into the millions. While esports is not yet in this same region, it's certainly growing.
Image source: Freeimages.com/Veselina Skumova