Looking at the ownership movements of top sports stars past and present

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When it comes to athletes making money outside of their professional sport, the first name that comes to mind is Michael Jordan. Much of this is due to the cult his sneakers have established and maintained since the Air Jordan 1 was released in November 1984.

The relationship has been one of the most lucrative and iconic athlete-brand collaborations of all time. Nike would release a new shoe every season and what better billboard than the greatest player who ever wore this shoe? Even now, 16 years after Jordan retired, the brand has continued to soar with the re-release of original versions of sneakers, also known as retro. Since its inception, Nike has expanded to include clothing and sponsors multiple athletes in multiple sports. The stars who are part of the Jordan brand include Russell Westbrook, Luca Doncic, Carmelo Anthony, Jayson Tatum, Dak Prescott, Davante Adams, Te’a Cooper and Maya Moore to name a few. The massive growth encouraged Nike to make Jordan a standalone brand. During the 2019 financial year, he raised $ 3.1 billion wholesale revenue and was set to eclipse that figure in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic due to an announced $ 1 billion quarter at the end of 2019.

While that’s certainly a good part of the change, the Jordan brand is just one part of a diverse portfolio that the 6-time NBA champion has curated. Remaining in the athletics business, Jordan is also the majority owner of the NBA franchise the Charlotte Hornets. In fact, he is the first former player to do so in the league. Like most living legends, his influence spanned from hardwood to the boardroom as several other players followed his lead by buying stakes on professional teams across associations. Most recently, former Miami Heat champion Dwyane Wade joined the Utah Jazz ownership group. MLB great Alex Rodriguez is set to take majority ownership of the WNBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx in 2023 with ecommerce billionaire Marc Lore. The NBA Board of Governors approved the move in July.

Tennis superstar siblings Venus and Serena Williams have been limited property associates of the Miami Dolphins since 2009. Serena has added new Los Angeles-based women’s football team Angel City to her portfolio and this time around, she brought her daughter, Olympia, and her husband, Alexis, on For the Ride. The 23-time Grand Slam winner, along with his family, have joined a number of famous investors in 2020. The football club is expected to start playing in 2022. One of the leagues where diversity of ownership is almost obsolete is the NFL. Former running back Warrick Dunn bought a minority stake in the Atlanta Falcons after his retirement. Several sports stars have waited until retirement to migrate to the front office, but there is a new wave of athletes who are simultaneously doubling as franchise players and front office executives.

LeBron James and Patrick Mahomes are two of the hottest names in their respective sports, and they waste no time making their mark outside of their uniforms. Mahomes, in his prime and with a record deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, became part-owner of the Kansas City Royals. Baseball is ingrained in the DNA of the Super Bowl-winning quarterback. He was a star of two sports at Texas Tech before focusing on football, and his father was a pitcher in MLB for several years. James is by far Jordan’s heir apparent with his investment portfolio closely following the model of the legendary Tar Heel. In 2011, he invested in the Fenway Sports group to become part owner of Liverpool football club, valued at nearly $ 2.2 billion. In March 2021, the four-time NBA champion also officially became part-owner of the Boston Red Sox via FSG. Investments in baseball diamonds can prove hugely lucrative for Mahomes and James, as MLB valuations have done so skyrockets from an average of $ 523 million to $ 1.85 billion over the past decade according to Forbes.

Despite being Nike’s second highest earner, after the Jordan brand, James’ shoe deal is just a fragment of what the Akron kid did off the pitch. In addition to fighting against the suppression of voters and leading a series of fights for social justice, he was get to the money. Millions of people flocked to see her Space jam continued this summer. James’ production company SpringHill Entertainment produced the film and is responsible for several original films and series that have appeared on network giants HBO, CBS, NBC, ABC and ESPN. There are also works by SpringHill that appear on Netflix, Disney +, and Apple + streaming channels. The husband and father of three also owns the Uninterrupted media company.

Getting ready for your 19e NBA season, taking care of your body is essential for the LA Laker. He’s teamed up with model Cindy Crawford, actor / politician Arnold Schwarzenegger and former ski racer Lindsey Vonn to start a health and wellness business called Ladder. After being the face of Coca-Cola for nearly 18 years, he signed a new deal with PepsiCo that is expected to bring in $ 4 million a year to the James family. While enjoying a cold Pepsi product, you can also grab a slice or two while supporting one of the most prolific goal scorers in the NBA. There are 19 Blaze Pizza restaurants dotted across Chicago and South Florida that James can claim while also being listed as an investor in the business. If you follow James or his wife Savannah on social media, it’s no secret that they often have a glass or two of wine, so don’t be surprised if the wine industry is next to be stamped. by King James.

Diversification has to be something that is deeply embedded in the gold and purple of the Los Angeles Lakers. Former center and Hall of Fame member Shaquille O’Neal has such a hand that it will be hard not to forget to list one or two of his efforts. The now analyst has graced televisions in many homes for years while promoting brands such as Gold Bond, Icy Hot, The General Insurance and Papa John’s. He is not new to this area, he is true to it. One of his first “hits” was his investment in Google in 2004 – an investment he wished he had invested more in. Along with Papa John’s, O’Neal owns several restaurant franchises, including pretzel giant Auntie Anne’s. At one point, he owned 155 Five Guys locations before selling his stake. In addition to its minority stake in the Sacramento Kings, the 15-time All-Star also owns a significant stake in Vitaminwater, Lyft and Ring. More recently, he shocked many when he announced that he also owns Forever 21, JCPenny, and, take it, Elvis Presley’s trademark rights. O’Neal doesn’t just stop there. In March, he co-founded an advertising agency focused on diversity called “Majority” with the aim of increasing diversity in the workplace.

“Most agencies are still struggling to meet a 25% diversity goal,” O’Neal said. “We want to reverse this diversity ratio to turn the minority into a majority.”

In keeping with the trend for lucrative Lake Show alumni, before there was Wizard Kelly on “The Proud Family” there was Magic Johnson. Famous guard Laker’s company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, has invested in several Los Angeles sports franchise businesses – the Lakers, Sparks, Dodgers and LAFC – to movie theaters and restaurants. There were Magic Johnson theaters in four cities. Additionally, the Hall of Fame had 31 Burger King restaurants and 13 24-hour fitness facilities. Burger King wasn’t Johnson’s only foray into the restaurant business as he also owned several TGI Friday franchises. He even had a stake in 125 Starbucks stores before reselling his stake in the company in 2010. He is also credited with placing the coffee giant in urban areas and adapting menus to meet market needs. respective. He sold his 4% stake in the Lakers to Patrick Soon-Shiong the next day. Johnson’s investment game continued as he was part of a joint venture to rebuild LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York. Another current investment is Superheroic, a data-driven sneaker that encourages kids to be active.

The growing business acumen of the professional athlete gives hope to the initiative to diversify meeting rooms and hospitality offices into spaces that were once – or still are – their main source of income. As the portfolios of the athletes mentioned begin to inspire generations of those who come after them, is it possible to erase the notion of “$ 40 million in slavery”?


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