This week, Adele chats to her brother, Craig Livingstone. Craig is a qualified attorney and manages professional sportsmen. He played and coached at provincial and national level and his hockey highlight was attending the Atlanta 1996 Olympics with Team South Africa. Craig has been managing professional sportsmen primarily in rugby and cricket for the past 25 years. He has managed elite athletes at the highest level and his current clients include Eddie Jones, Jake White and Lukhanyo Am.
Adele: How long have you been a sport’s agent and what got you in to this field?
Craig: I have been a sports agent since 1995. When rugby turned professional, I was introduced to the 1995 Rugby World Cup winning players by Ray Mordt, a close friend of mine. They needed advice on their contracts, and I saw the commercial opportunities that flowed from them winning the World Cup.
Adele: What are you qualified as? How does this assist with your work as a Sport’s Agent?
Craig: I am a qualified lawyer, and this helps as the role of an agent requires you to negotiate various contracts for your client.
Adele: When did you first get involved with hockey?
Craig: I played hockey from a young age and represented Natal at schools’ level and then went onto play SA Schools and SA u21. I also represented Southerns and Witsies.
Adele: When did you get involved with coaching and what was your highest appointment as a hockey coach?
Craig: I started coaching at a school level when I was at University. I coached the Southerns team and was assistant coach to the SA team in Atlanta in 1996.
Adele: How has playing and coaching hockey assisted you with your sport’s agency business?
Craig: For me coaching is very much about managing players and getting the best out of them. As an agent I need to manage my client’s best interests and make sure my client performs on the field and I take care of the off-field side. So, man management skills are very important in coaching and equally in managing players.
Adele: Name some of the great rugby players and cricketers that you have managed or currently manage.
Craig: I was fortunate to have managed a number of Springbok Rugby captains from Gary Teichmann to John Smit and superb players in Bryan Habana and Schalk Burger and more recently Lukhanyo Am.
Adele: Who are some of the top coaches that you are currently managing?
Craig: I manage Eddie Jones, Jake White, John Dobson, John Mitchell, Joey Mongalo and Johann van Graan. Managing coaches has assisted me in identifying quality talent to sign.
Adele: Your business is International. You also have a base in London. Describe how this works.
Craig: I manage clients in SA and overseas. It’s important that you are able to provide a seamless service for the client whether he is playing in SA or abroad. So, I partner with agents overseas who are able to take care of my client’s needs when he is playing abroad.
Adele: How important is a Sport Agent for the player and what functions do you perform for them?
Craig: In most professional sports, players have agents. What role the agent plays varies from client to client but can be anything from negotiating an employment contract to establishing the right image for the player and creating marketing and endorsement opportunities to providing good advice and outsourcing the financial and tax aspects for the players.
Adele: With the Covid 19 Lockdown and no travel allowed how have you continued with communication with your coaches and players?
Craig: It’s been mainly contact on phone and zoom, especially for my overseas clients. Fortunately for the local clients I have been able to maintain the personal contact. We have all had to adapt to the new normal and as an agent I have had to adapt, and my advice to my players and coaches is the more adaptable you are the more likely you are to succeed.