Prospective NFL athletes every year make a decision on agents after their college season has culminated.
Enter Orlando Arnold, a business owner of Pyramid Sports Group based in Miami. These days, Arnold is selected by top-notch athletes to lead them in the business of professional sports. And before you know it, it is Arnold who is answering questions pertaining to where predraft training is located. The former Alabama State athlete turned businessman then identifies locations such as Miami or sites in California -- places he had previous athletes frequent in preparation for the draft.
Flying to these locations could be the next step for Arnold in an effort to ensure the predraft training process, an eight- to 10-week process at a high-end facility, is running smoothly, yet expeditiously. But Arnold isn't just in the business of football, he's into mostly every other sport.
On the amateur's advisement side of things -- this is mostly baseball -- Arnold is working with both the athlete and parents, ensuring athletes know which baseball tournaments will get them in front of the most scouts, as well as fortifying the full process leading up to these tournaments.
Arnold is also no stranger to calling companies and organizations for athletes who want to be an ambassador for causes that hit home. One of his clients is an ambassador for the American Cancer Society.
"From an athlete's side, it's a lot of communication, it's a lot of daily partnership, daily communication, and really executing their vision off the field," Arnold said.
Arnold has been about executing his vision off the field as well.
This process, of course, starts with agent Arnold, who cultivates relationships through recruitment. Recently, Arnold promulgated his partnership with Jason Campbell of Brand B Sports. Campbell, a Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University graduate, as well as a brander and sports marketer who has experience working with NASCAR, the United States Tennis Association, NFL and the MLB, among other leagues, helps spearhead all of the off-the-field branding and marketing for athletes, including making sure athletes can pursue fruitful endeavors when their time is up playing sports, or even when they are in the middle of their athletic careers. Both Campbell and Arnold are members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Representing both coaches and signed professional and collegiate athletes, the collaboration involves not only predraft training, and amateur advisement, but marketing and endorsements, contract negotiation, off-the-field- support, off-season training, media training and financial management. And there is a focal point: professional athletes of color in a world where the majority of Black and brown athletes choose white agencies despite making up the majority of rosters in at least half of the four major sports in America.
"Some of that still involves me and Jason collaborating together on some visions I may have for the client, especially depending on what specific sport it is, but then it just lets Jason, let this creative genius go to work," Arnold said. "For example, we may have a client that grew up in an area where kids didn't have access to play in little leagues or a rec center, so now Jason finds the proper community partners and corporate sponsors, in addition to what I have, and kind of puts that on a much bigger scale.
"Each client is a client of Sports Pyramid Group, and what we do is allow Jason to maximize and build upon what he has already established for Brand B Sports in his 15 years-plus in the business. It just allows our athletes to be maximized and monetized to an extent in their philanthropic and community endeavors."
While Arnold has always been about maximizing and monetizing his business, it's also about being a trailblazer. The disparity between while-owned agencies and black-owned agencies is noticeable, and Arnold said he knows that.
"We're a black-owned agency, and there aren't a lot, but there are an adequate amount of black agents, but there are not that many black-owned sports agencies, especially that deal with both baseball and football; you might have some that deal with NFL only or the NBA only or Major League Baseball only, but to be in two sports is rare," Arnold noted. "The goal is really to be one of the top agencies in the world. It's just the cherry on top. Obviously I want to be an example for young African Americans so they can own their own, to see that they can sit at the table with everybody else with these quote-unquote big dogs, or these seasoned and established firms that have been around. But also it's okay to go against the norm, it's okay. If you feel passionate about something, if you feel different about something, and you do your homework, you do the research, you do the necessary professional work and skills, it's okay. And I think crafting this path at this point, it's been a nice journey, but it's been rewarding thus far, seeing the potential impact that we can have."
But Arnold didn't know he would have this type of impact at this point in his life. After graduating from Alabama State in 2004, he went into corporate sales and negotiation for a little over 10 years before going into hospitality and the pharmaceutical sales industries.
Securing accounts for different organizations, though, wasn't the be-all and end-all for Arnold. He wanted to do something that made a little more impact, and having already garnered the necessary education, Arnold just went after it.
"People think being an agent is transactional, well, I don't personally believe that, transactional is a part of it, but to me it's more personal, you know these are people that you are representing their morals, their image, their likeness, you're letting their family know that hey, I'm going to look out for their child's best interest and when you really get down to it, I just felt like it was a need for more of those people." Arnold said.
And Arnold will be the first to tell you that it hasn't been all rose petals. When he first started Pyramid Group Sports four years ago, soliciting clients was difficult. But through forging relationships and having the necessary finances and resources, especially after recently partnering, Arnold and Campbell were able to push through, serving professional clients such as Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Ward, NFL free agent cornerback Mandell Ray, NFL free agent wide receiver Qua Searcy and Atlanta Braves farm system player Rusber Estrada, among many other clients. Still, Arnold admits that when things are rolling, he always has to look out for those who may not want him to succeed.
Adroit off the field as he was on, Arnold was a Division I baseball player at Alabama State 2001-2004. He also earned an MBA from Alabama State before working in the pharmaceutical and hospitality industries 2007-2017.