One Happy Agent

Tonight in North America, the Women’s Semifinals of the Australian Open will be played live on ESPN2. Arguably the best match will be played between Li Na of China (ranked 6th in the World) and Maria Sharapova of Russia (ranked 2nd). Here are some stats. Both players have met on the court twelve times with Sharapova coming away with the victory eight of those matches. Li is five years older than Maria, and Maria is 6’ 2” tall while Li stands at 5’ 8”. They speak different languages and do not speak often to each other. As you can see, they are very different when it comes to the game of tennis. However, they do have one similarity that has helped them make millions of dollars over the course of their careers…their agent, Max Eisenbud, Vice President of Tennis Operations at IMG.

Eisenbud has been Sharapova’s agent since she was twelve and has helped her become the highest paid female athlete in the world earning around $27 million per year. Li Na has had Eisenbud as her agent for the past four years is actually the second highest paid female athlete in the world earning roughly $18 million per year behind Sharapova. Due to their success, he has been able to land deals for them with Nike, Mercedes Benz, Head, Samsung, Rolex, and Evian to name a few. With both players combined bringing in close to $50 million a year in earnings, it’s hard to see how Eisenbud doesn’t rake in at least $5 million in total sponsorship earnings if we are sticking to the traditional 15% commission not including prize money.

Without a doubt, Max Eisenbud must be happy for each of his clients who are set to make $500,000 for being semi-finalists, $1.2 million for being runner-up, and $2.4 million for winning the tournament. When asked who she thinks Max will cheer for, Sharapova jokingly said, “I think we know the answer to that. When you’ve worked with someone for as many years as I have, it’s beyond money and deals.” Li Na’s answer was, “I think Max just eat sugar and be somewhere else…you won’t find him.” Regardless of who wins this epic female tennis matchup, I know one thing is for sure, Max Eisenbud is one happy agent.