Brittany Gilman is the Founder and President of Athlete Relations of Los Angeles-based BG Sports, a sports marketing, PR, and management agency. BG Sports also offers their clients concierge, event planning, business assistance, travel, and personal assistant services. With over 9 years of experience in the professional sports world and over 20 years of personal athletic experience, Brittany combines her wealth of sports industry experience and unique knowledge as a professional athlete, trainer, fitness model, and Marketing Director to assist her athlete clients. BG Sports was established in the spring of 2008 and its focus is representing NFL players.
AA: Brittany what events and/or experiences in your professional career led to the inspiration to start BG Sports?
Brittany Gilman: My entire life I have been involved in sports in one form or another. I was put on skis at the age of 2, played soccer my whole life, ran track, and was a professional snowboarder during college. During my snowboard career I acted as my own agent, negotiating all my contracts and managing my career. After my snowboard career, for a while my goal was to be the first female strength coach in the NFL, and so I began pursuing that path. I worked at USC as a Graduate Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the football team and this was somewhat of an initiation into the football industry. Following my time at USC, I went to Auburn where I was also a strength coach and earned my Masters in Biomechanics. It was at this time when I realized I wanted to work in the business side of sports and with football.
I moved back to LA and did an internship at a sports agency for a few months and then decided to start my own firm.
AA: Who are your typical clients? Professional athletes, college athletes, coaches?
Brittany Gilman: The majority of BG Sports clients are NFL athletes; however, we cater to all sports, including track and field, snowboarding, basketball, baseball, soccer, as well as offer consulting to companies.
AA: In what ways can your services boost an athlete’s image and marketability?
Brittany Gilman: In order to boost an athlete’s image and marketability, we focus on increasing their Q-value. This is achieved through performance on the field, as well as off the field through event attendance, interviews, social media, endorsements, community involvement, and more.
AA: Give us some examples of how the services your company provides are separate from those of a sports agent.
Brittany Gilman: An agent’s main goal is to negotiate team contracts. We focus on an athlete’s career off the field. Many agents offer marketing and PR services, but it is often difficult to provide the individualized attention that is required to fully take advantage of opportunities available to an athlete.
AA: Describe the roll you play when a company hires you. Is your job to match the right athlete to fit the marketing/product image the company is seeking? Can you give an example of how this works?
Brittany Gilman: Each athlete and company we work with is unique. We focus on individualized marketing plans to fit every client. At times, companies will cater to a particular market, and thus be looking for a particular look or personality. In that case we do our best to match our clients to the company to fulfill this desired role.
AA: Is there any typical advice you give to athletes looking to advance their commercial marketability?
Brittany Gilman: Hiring a publicist and marketing agent is the first step. It is also crucial to get involved in the community, attend events, maintain a positive image, and ultimately perform on and off the field.
AA: What are strong athletic and personality criteria companies look for when they seek out an athlete to market a product?
Brittany Gilman: Each company is unique in terms of the criteria they seek in an athlete. Additionally, it depends on the target market. In general, leadership, humor, charisma, and confidence are all common characteristics companies look for in a potential athlete.
AA: In what ways does your background as an athlete and strength and conditioning business influence your understanding of the needs of your clients?
Brittany Gilman: My background as an athlete has created who I am today and I maintain the mindset of an athlete. I understand where they are coming from, the pressures, and the lifestyle. My background as a strength coach has given me an inside perspective on the other side of athletics and enabled me to be a motivator and an influencer. This combination has given me an incredible ability to relate to and communicate with my clients.
AA: As a female in this business, what advantage do you have working within the world of professional men’s sports?
Brittany Gilman: Women think differently than men, and thus bring unique perspectives and communication. By nature, women are nurturing and caretakers. I believe this can be refreshing in an industry dominated by men.
AA: What are the most interesting elements of your day-to-day job?
Brittany Gilman: Every day brings its own events and excitement, so you never know what your day will behold.
AA: Do you have any favorite inspirational stories, tips or quotes that have guided you on your professional path?
Brittany Gilman: I always remind myself that I created my business from scratch, and that the only person that can hold me back is myself.
On behalf of Access Athletes, we would like to thank Brittany for taking time out of her busy schedule to participate in this interview. If you would like to contact me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website www.susanzaro.com.