Cash has been flying across the football world this year, with the summer transfer featuring a €126 million deal for a player who had not yet turned 20: João Félix, now with Atlético Madrid. With all the money sloshing around, it should come as no big surprise that football players captured the top 3 spots on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
It should not be especially surprising, either, that the world’s most powerful sports agent now comes out of football.
Having negotiated more than $1.28 billion in active contracts and transfers fees, with his maximum possible commissions exceeding $128 million, Jonathan Barnett climbs to No. 1 on Forbes’ list, from No. 3 last year.
Barnett, co-founder, and chairman of the London-based Stellar Group, has represented some of Europe’s top football players for more than two decades and also played an instrumental role in bringing cricket to South Africa after the end of Apartheid. Barnett oversees Stellar’s list of more than 200 clients and has negotiated some of the biggest deals in football, including Welsh winger Gareth Bale’s massive $33 million-a-year contract with Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid’s $100 million-plus deal with Saúl Ñíguez.
Barnett isn’t the only one that has a great year, either. The 50 members of Forbes’ list of the most powerful sports agents in the world had negotiated above $37.5 billion in active player contracts, that nets $1.75 billion in maximum possible commissions, as of our cutoff in August. Those numbers are up from $33.4 billion and $1.6 billion last year.
Falling behind Barnett in the list is baseball agent Scott Boras. No sports agent in history has negotiated bigger deals than Boras, who manages an astounding $2.38 billion in active contracts, the highest total ever for a single agent. Boras’ namesake agency, Boras Corporation, is due about $119 million in maximum possible commissions.