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It is hard to believe now, given the huge wages and signing on deals that are reported, but once upon a time, retired sports stars had to find regular jobs once their playing days were over. Up until the 1960s or 1970s, not all sports would pay a hugely competitive wage, so once retirement came at the age of 35, players would have to learn a new profession all over again. However, in the modern-day, this is becoming less and less of a common occurrence.
This is partly of course due to the wages that they receive. For example, Cristiano Ronaldo is reported to earn a staggering $531,000 per week at Manchester United. Obviously, he is still one of the top performers on the pitch, but he is paid this much because of who he is ― the brand as much as the player. Manchester United know that they stand to make a lot of money in shirt sales and sponsorship deals by having Ronaldo in their team, so feel his exorbitant wages are worth it in the long run. Whenever he is selected for United, fans around the world will search for odds on the best online sportsbooks to place bets on the Red Devils winning, and on Ronaldo scoring.
Not only does Ronaldo earn a lot of money for his efforts on the field, but he also makes a lot of money off the pitch, through endorsements and investments. This is becoming a more regular trend that the top athletes in the world will have other interests away from their sports, and find companies to invest in and promote. The rise of the sports star entrepreneur has been quite the phenomenon over the past few years, so let us look at some of the most well-known examples.
Basketball Stars Leading the Way
Ever since Michael Jordan joined forces with Nike to create the Air Jordan trainers, basketball stars have been looking for ways to invest their hard-earned cash in interesting business ideas. Of the current crop of superstars, LeBron James is a prime example. Not only is he the first player to earn a billion dollars in wages, but he also has his hand in a number of ventures away from the court. In 2011, he partnered up with FSG, the owners of the Boston Red Sox, and became a part-owner in one of their other teams — the Premier League side Liverpool FC. His 2% stake might not seem like a lot, but given Liverpool have won the Premier League, the Champions League, and the World Club Cup in the last few seasons, his 2% is now worth a reported $37 million.
Aside from James, Kevin Durant is another basketball player who makes a lot of money away from the Brooklyn Nets. In 2017, he and his business partner Rich Kleiman founded Thiry Five Ventures, a startup that invests in tech companies. They have also produced a number of sports documentaries, such as Basketball County, which was about George’s County, where Durant grew up. He also has a number of sponsorship deals, with the likes of Foot Locker and Gatorade.
Other Megastars Getting in on the Action
It is not just basketball players who become entrepreneurs. In almost every major sport, there are a number of examples. In the world of soccer, the previously mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo markets several clothing companies, as well as restaurants, fitness centers, and a private jet rental business.
One of the original soccer entrepreneurs was David Beckham, who played for a number of the world’s largest teams during his playing career, including Real Madrid, AC Milan, Paris Saint Germain, and LA Galaxy. He now owns his own MLS franchise ― Inter Miami. While they have had a rocky start to life in the top US soccer league, with Beckham’s know-how and his brand appeal, they will surely get things right on the pitch soon. Away from soccer, Beckham has a diverse business portfolio, including Guild Sports — an Esports team.
Serena Williams is rightly regarded as one of, if not the greatest tennis players of her own time. Off the court, she also has a clothing line called Serena and is part of the Poshmark board of directors. She also has her own VC firm Serena Ventures, which is committed to funding women and black-owned businesses. Her sister, Venus, also has a number of business ventures, such as her own clothing line called Eleven.
There are plenty of other examples, such as the Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton, who has his own series of apparel through his partnership with Tommy Hilfiger, and Tom Brady, who started up 199 Productions in 2020, with the aim to develop original premium content including documentaries, feature films, and TV shows.
We expect the athlete entrepreneur to only rise and rise in the coming years, as more players look to expand their business portfolio ― securing their financial futures.
The post Who Are the Top Athletes Who Have Also Become Entrepreneurs Away from Their Sport? appeared first on Home Business Magazine.
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