The job of an agent is to try and procure endorsement work for your client the athlete.
The premise of this is simple, the procurement of the right fit and the execution of this is long and hard while having the balance of the equation is tricky.
I am in the middle of this right now. We are less then 106 days before the Olympics and their is a tremendous amount of activation of partnerships going on in North America. Fortunately, the athletes I work for have had the great fortune to have signed endorsement deals or editorial paid content with:
Coca Cola Canada
Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield
RBK / CCM Hockey
Hilton HHonors Canada
Hudson Bay Company
Canadian Automobile Association
USG / CGC
Bausch + Lomb Canada
While this list is damn impressive, now is crunch time for many of them and they want their pound of flesh to make sure that their activation goes off to pay for their campaigns that they have sunk a lot of money into. The athletes need to honor their deals, but they also have to make their teams so that they can go and make it to the Olympic Games and hopefully fulfill their ultimate dreams, an Olympic medal or an Olympic Gold medal.
Teams don't want to lose their athletes for sponsorship reasons to miss practice, each day is precious. At the same time, athletes need these dollars to support their journey. It is a balance and as you get closer to the Games, the focus needs to be with the team and corporate partners just have to stick to utilizing these ambassadors in a social media context and that has to be good enough.
Athlete ambassadors are authentic, but they have to give 110% to their teams as well. Every 4 years you have the opportunity to represent your nation and give it your all, at the same time, you have to make it first.
Trust me when I say this that it is a balance and the answers that the agent has to provide to keep everyone happy is not always the easy one.