Sports Agency

The Sports Agency session gave WSBS attendees an inside look into an agent’s career, the details of

contract negotiations, and the stress of NFL draft day, all through the eyes of Andrew Brandt.

The Agent:

As the current Executive Director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law at

Villanova University Law School, Andrew Brandt is a very successful professor. However, calling him

just a professor would be a dramatic undersell. Before teaching, Brandt was a wildly successful sports

agent, representing all-star athletes like Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Matt Hasselbeck, Adam Vinatieri,

and many more. In addition to his sports agency success, Brandt was also the Vice President of the Green

Bay Packers for nine years, being the man behind drafting Aaron Rodgers. To top off his impressive

resume, Brandt is a graduate of Stanford University and Georgetown Law School.

The Road:

Despite his long list of successes, Brandt emphasized that his road to the top was unorthodox and quite

unexpected. He explained how it all started during his short time as a tennis player for Stanford

University. Brandt was on Stanford’s “C team”, rarely seeing the court or suiting up against other division

opponents. He noted how his size limited his playing abilities and that he did not see a career in tennis. As

a result, he decided to quit the team and instead use his knowledge of the game to join a sports agency

firm and become a tennis agent. However, Brandt soon grew tired of dealing with tennis prospects’

parents and watching youth tennis games.

He wanted to move into other sports, so he asked his very successful coworker – an NBA agent who

represented Michael Jordan – if he could work with him. The coworker happily accepted, and Brandt

began representing NBA prospects. After working under his coworker for over a year, Brandt found an

NFL gig where he worked in the league’s office. During his time at the NFL, colleagues asked Brandt if

he would become the general manager of a new NFL Europe team: The Barcelona Dragons.

Eager to try something new, Brandt accepted the offer without much thought. However, Brandt soon

discovered how much work he signed up for. In just one week, Brandt had to put together a football team,

go to Barcelona, and start training for their game that was scheduled for the end of the month. Once he

arrived in Barcelona, the list of problems lengthened: there was nowhere for his players to stay, a shortage

of food for his team, and no tickets sold for the game. After advertising the Dragon’s game at a FC

Barcelona half time, he was able to sell a few thousand tickets. However, during their first game, Brandt

realized his biggest problem: Spaniards didn’t understand American football. They cheered more for

kicking extra points and punts than they did for touchdowns and interceptions.

Brandt understood there was no future for NFL Europe and after the league folded in two seasons, Brandt

returned to America to continue his career in sports agency. Eventually, Brandt took over the NFL and

NBA side of the firm and began representing household names like Ricky Williams, Matt Hasselbeck,

and Adam Vinatieri. Becoming well-known around the league as a top negotiator, Brandt was offered a

job as the Green Bay Packers Vice President. This job turned out to be Brandt’s longest, serving as the

vice president for nine years. As VP, Brandt served as a balance point between football operations and the

business side, negotiated all player and coaching contracts, and managed the salary cap. This included

working with future hall of famers Brett Favre and Charles Woodson and being the man behind drafting

Aaron Rodgers.

Best Negotiations:

During his time as Vice President of the Packers, Brandt had to constantly negotiate contracts with

players. He told WSBS attendees that his two most memorable contract negotiations happened to be the

team’s two biggest contracts: Brett Favre and Ricky Williams.

He told the audience that Brett Favre’s contract negotiation was long and unconventional. He explained

that Favre liked to do things according to his schedule. So, when Brandt flew to meet Favre to negotiate,

Favre insisted they played a few rounds of golf beforehand. Then when they returned from the course,

Favre wanted to watch Shark Week on TV and postponed the negotiation talks to the following week.

After numerous meetings that spanned many months, Brandt and Favre agreed on a deal that would make

Favre the NFL’s first $100 million player, signing the contract on Favre’s favorite place: the golf course.

Next, Brandt outlined his negotiation story with Charles Woodson, one of the league’s top safeties.

Brandt explained that Green Bay was struggling to recruit Woodson because he did not want to leave the

city of Oakland. Woodson didn’t want to leave his friends or family and was under the impression (which

he later found true) that there were very few African Americans in Green Bay. Although Brandt had

trouble marketing the small city of Green Bay, a city he didn’t love either, he knew the Packers needed

Woodson. He explained to Woodson that the money and the chance to win a Super Bowl would trump

Green Bay’s location. After a lot of thinking, Woodson gave in and signed with the Packers. It turned out

that Brandt was right because Woodson eventually won a Super Bowl in 2011 with the team.

His Advice:

Even though the majority of the sports agency session was dedicated to Brandt’s personal anecdotes, his

stories were filled with insightful tips and advice that can apply to all fields of business.

One of Brandt’s biggest pieces of advice was to trust the board – listen to the expertise and the advice

around you. When he and the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers, they trusted the board. Although the

Packers already had an elite quarterback, the NFL draft board clearly showed that Rodgers was the best

option. Therefore, they trusted the experts despite already having Brett Favre. The decision clearly paid

off: Rodgers won an MVP, became the new face of the franchise, and won a Super Bowl for the team.

Without trusting the board, the Packers would have missed out on one of the greatest quarterbacks of all

time.

Brandt’s second piece of advice was to create a balance of focus between the present and the future.

When Brandt was the VP of the Packers, he explained that he never just focused on the present or just on

the future: he created a balance. This idea is shown in nearly all his decisions, from giving Woodson and

Favre big contracts to win in the present to drafting Aaron Rodgers to win the future. Ultimately, Brandt

emphasized that success comes when you have a holistic perspective rather than an unproductive focus on

one aspect of your life or business.

Trevor Mele 

USBC Journal Writer

Class of 2022