Stephanie Rice’s dumping of agent ‘could be an expensive mistake’

The decision by Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Rice to dump her management company in favour of representing herself could lead to missed opportunities and affect fee negotiations, an expert has warned.  

The 21-year-old is reported to have decided to enlist the help of a friend and a marketing consultant to handle her business affairs instead of using International Quarterback.

Rice was reportedly unhappy with having to pay 20% commission to her management company. With estimated earnings of $800,000 a year, she currently has deals with Davenport, the Seven Network, Sunrise rice, Telstra and Speedo.

Brian Levine, co-founder of celebrity management and sports marketing company Blinc International told Mumbrella that a good agent will always cover more than their commission. “Through smart negotiating you can increase the fee paid to the client,” he said.

He added that the risk Rice will face is taking her “eye off the ball” with her swimming training, as she tries to handle her own business affairs.

“An agent or manager knows the marketplace so if someone presents you an offer they know what to compare it with in the market. Also, experienced managers already have long-standing relationships with key companies and stakeholders to strike deals with,” Levine said.

But celebrity publicist Max Markson said that sports stars such as Greg Norman, Lleyton Hewitt and Kieren Perkins have parted ways with their agents and successfully struck out on their own.

Levine, who co-founded Blinc International with Perkins, maintained that on the whole, the only time a sports personality could feasibly represent him or herself would be if they were already retired and only needed to manage a contract with one TV network, for example.

“But if you’re hot talent and you’re in your best years it’s always best to get a third party, because it’s also very emotionally hard to detach yourself when cutting your own deal,” he said.

Harry M Miller Group chief executive Lauren Miller said of Rice’s move: “If she has the confidence to do it herself and the right people advising her then good on her”.


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