Eustace King: Sports Agent, Business Partner, Friend
June 24, 2010 1 Comment
Sports agent. What was the first thing that came to your mind when you read those words? Money? Negotiations? Contracts?
That’s what Eustace King of O2K Worldwide Management Group is trying to change. The perception is such that agents are not friendly people – they simply want to maximize the dollar value and go on their way.
“We operate one of the best young pipelines in the agency business,” says King, who is one of the only African-American agents in professional hockey. “It’s not about us, it’s about taking the best players and giving them opportunities.”
King’s agency represents numerous young players like Derek Stepan, the captain of the gold medal-winning world junior championships USA team in 2010. He also represents Emerson Etem, who is ranked eighth among domestic skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
O2K Worldwide Management Group also represents NHLers Raffi Torres of the Buffalo Sabres, Wayne Simmonds of the Los Angeles Kings, and TJ Oshie of the St. Louis Blues.
A key to becoming a successful agency, according to King, is similar to building a Stanley Cup-winning NHL organization. “We’re gonna build it from the draft, almost like a team,” said King. “The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks did it – they built from the draft, and we did the same thing. We’ve had some young guys come through for us. We work hard and we’re fortunate to gather some of the top young players. We feel we’ve been able to establish ourselves as one of the premier agencies.”
The agency also creates video portfolios of each client for the upcoming drafts. If you go to YouTube and type in “Emerson Etem,” you will find O2K’s video profile on the highly touted prospect.
King, who played college hockey at Miami (Ohio), worked for the NHL alongside Brian Burke before jumping into the sports agent business. He prides himself on caring for his clients and making sure he is up to date on all his players’ happenings.
“The first thing I look at in the morning are the transactions in the hockey world, what’s taking place,” explained King. “Is there anything that can affect our players?
“Then I move from that to checking in with our players individually. I look at the box scores and decide if there’s anything I have to say and if there is, I just pick up the phone and call them. I can say, ‘Hey, great job last night.’ Or if someone didn’t play much or play well, I’ll call and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Is there an injury at all or something?’ We are very thorough and detailed. We believe that at the end of the day, we are helping our athletes out in their development and careers.”
Lastly, King believes that communication between the club’s management, himself and his client is crucial. “The [coaches and general managers] run the team, so we’ll follow up with them and check in with them.
“We just make sure that we communicate with everyone and that our players know where they stand with the team and what is expected of them. We never want our players to be in the limbo.”
King concluded by explaining the key to his business and the agency’s reputation.
“We feel that people know us because we collectively work together to help each other.”
O2K envisions each relationship as an agreement not only between a business and an athlete, but as a long-term mutually fulfilling partnership. They treat their clients as partners, engaging them throughout the process of developing their careers and life plans. Experience, talent, dedication, work ethic and passion are the elements that make each athlete unique. These are the same elements that form the foundation of O2K.
Visit the O2K website at http://www.o2kmanagement.com/
Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com. In addition to writing for Inside Hockey and Pro Hockey News, he has also worked for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him at BergHockey24@gmail.com.