Today, we continue our conversation with others in the industry that must grapple with the effect of the newly modified Standard Representation Agreement (SRA) by talking to Matt Gates of Fit Speed Athletic Performance.
I wanted Matt’s opinion because he’s a guy whose brand is growing (Fit Speed recently added a Chicago location to its Weston, Fla.-based central location). Just a few years ago, I had never heard of Fit Speed, but Matt’s facility has been attracting bigger and bigger names the last 2-3 years, and now the service has become a recognized brand in the game with top agencies and players. The needle is pointing way up. So how does this change things? I’ll turn it over to ITL’s Mark Skol and Matt.
“The fee reduction is only going to affect the training business if facilities can’t find a way to adapt. I’ve already begun discussing creative ways to work with my agents on lower-round or free agent-type prospects. There’s always a way to work around any issue. Bottom line is agents aren’t going to sign fewer kids as a whole — individual agents may, but others will pick up the slack — and kids are still going to want/need training, so the combine prep business isn’t going anywhere. Obviously, the 1.5 percent is a complete slap in the face for NFL agents, especially when NBA and MLB agents are capped at 4-5 percent. No question it’s going to affect the smaller agencies and new agents in the game more than the big boys. The sales pitch to the kids is going to have to change a bit, just as mine will have to change to the agents, but just like any business, if you can build in a tremendous amount of value into your product, you’ll be fine in the long run.”
“Adapt or die. No facility can just think it’s business as usual. This is a big change for agents and trainers. There will be changes to pricing structure and the layout of payment terms for agents that are signing a certain client at my facility this year.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s negative for existing facilities with a good reputation, but it does throw a kink into the way we’ve done the combine prep business for a long time. Just like the fee reduction will affect new and smaller agencies, it will do the same for training facilities. This will make it a lot more difficult to break into the training world moving forward.”