This is the first installment of my “Off the Field” series. Throughout the series, I hope to educate myself and my readers on the business aspect of sports. This interview is with Floyd Morris of The Factory Agency. I reached out to Floyd, via Twitter, after reading about him on the site happygolegal.com. Since then, I have continued to keep in touch with Floyd who has always been willing to share his insight on the sports industry. I would like to thank Floyd for agreeing to be my first interviewee.
Cameron Chung: What is your official job title? What are your main duties with The Factory Agency?
Floyd Morris: My official job title is Vice President of NFL Representation. I’m in charge of the football division for TFA, handling contract negotiations for our clients, working with them on brand building through endorsements and philanthropy, and planning our recruitment strategies for upcoming draft classes. That’s the big picture view; the day to day tasks vary constantly which makes things fun.
Cameron Chung: Where did you go to college as an undergrad and what were your majors/minors? Did you pursue any advanced degrees to further market yourself in the sports industry?
Floyd Morris: I graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology with a degree in Business & Technology. With the requirements the NFL has regarding qualifications for being certified by the NFLPA, I decided to go to law school after college and graduated from Seton Hall School of Law.
Cameron Chung: How many internships did you participate in before landing your first job in sports? Where did you intern and how did these help you break into the industry?
Floyd Morris: Stevens does a very good job of giving their students opportunities to get summer internships and work experience during the school year. In total, I think I had 4 internships before I landed my first one in sports. Most of my internships were in the marketing industry which has helped immensely in dealing with clients. My internship with GMR Marketing probably gave me the most hands on experience and preparation for the sports industry because we were dealing with major brands and artists, like Ludacris and Fergie, trying to create unique brand awareness campaigns and live events.
Cameron Chung: How did you land your job with The Factory Agency?
Floyd Morris: Jeremy Snyder and I met a couple years ago through a mutual friend and we share similar backgrounds. We were both college athletes that got a chance to break into the sports industry early in our careers and saw the opportunity to provide athletes with the kind of representation they deserve. With Jeremy having a strong marketing background, and me coming in from the contract negotiation side, the partnership made sense. One of the things our clients truly enjoy about TFA is that we can handle all of their career management in house, allowing them to focus on competing.
Cameron Chung: As a recent law school graduate, have you found your age to be an asset or a concern to the athletes you’re recruiting? What are the biggest issues you face in recruiting athletes?
Floyd Morris: It’s probably been a little bit of both but I’ve mostly found it to be to my benefit. I’m able to relate to players coming out of college a lot easier because of the age difference. Some players and parents will be a bit skeptical of younger agents but as long as you can show them that you understand the business and are the best person for the job they’ll give you a chance.
As far as recruiting, the business is very competitive and the costs to even “play the game” can be high. Between NFLPA certification, state licenses, and travel there’s a lot of money to be spent just to have the opportunity to speak with players. That being said, once you get going the biggest challenge is finding new ways to separate yourself from the crowd. 42% of current agents don’t have a client currently in the NFL so just like it’s hard for a player to make it into the league, it is also hard for an agent to break into the business.
Cameron Chung: With the growth in technology and social media, how has technology affected sports management and athlete representation?
Floyd Morris: Technology is always going to change how we interact and most of what we do is based around communication, either with clients, teams, or businesses. I’m a big twitter guy myself (@MorrisLegacyIII) and you can find a lot of agents using twitter to promote their clients and their companies. Nothing is going to replace the face-to-face meeting and handshake, but social media has definitely made staying in touch with clients and connecting with others a lot faster and easier.
Cameron Chung: What are some of your personal goals/goals for TFA in the future?
Floyd Morris: We definitely want to see TFA continue to grow in both the NFL and Olympic representation world. At the same time, my primary goal is always to give each athlete that we sign the level of individual attention that I would want if I was in their position. Ultimately, anyone in this business wants to get to the level of a Tom Condon from CAA and it starts with finding the right clients and doing a great job for them. As we continue to move forward I’m confident that we’ll be able to sign athletes that help us grow in the industry.
Cameron Chung: What advice do you have for people looking to break into the sports industry?
Floyd Morris: The best way to break into the sports industry is to network. So many people want to work in sports so it is very tough to break in when you are one of the thousands of resumes sitting on the desk. Just getting into the industry is an accomplishment, but also a great test because succeeding in sports means being very aggressive and persistent, which is the approach you need to take while trying to get your foot in the door. There is no one way to get into sports, so be creative and open to taking internships and opportunities that will give you hands on experience in whatever area of sports or entertainment you want to work in.
Cameron Chung: What do you do for fun when you are not at the office?
Floyd Morris: I’m generally doing something that involves sports. I coach football here in New Jersey and that takes up a good portion of my free time. Plus I play in some football and basketball leagues which are fun and a good way to see friends and people I graduated with. Other than that I like to head out in New York City or Hoboken and hang out while watching a game.