Professional athletes live complex lives. With the athlete as the chief executive officer of a living, breathing brand; themselves, they must remain empowered in managing their lives, which are lot like a business. It’s critical for them to be educated on a multitude of topics, opportunities and changes in the sports business landscape so they can remain on top of all that’s happening around them.
In Anomaly Sports Group’s mission to be a resource for player development and engagement programming for professional sports organizations, the summary on the right provides both basic and advanced level educational context for the topics that we have expertise and experience with.
Areas of Impact
Developing a personal decision-making process
A personal decision-making process is the foundation upon which all other life skills conversations can occur, and is often overlooked. While elite athletes are used to making split-second decisions in their sport, they often are not taught how to slow down their decision making and go through an intentional and systematic process for making decisions outside of their sport in life and business.
Personal financial management
Understanding the core concepts of personal financial management can help an athlete protect what they’ve earned, both during their athletic career and long after. One of the reasons athletes experience financial hardship is because the financial universe is a complex area to understand.
These complexities, however, can be overcome through increased education in understanding money, understanding credit and its impact, providing familiarization with financial markets and helping athletes understand how to compare the various categories of financial advisors, and ultimately, hold them accountable.
Advanced levels of personal financial management can include topics like estate planning, tax and asset protection, non-profit entity formation (ex. starting foundations) and management; analyzing corporate structure and external partnerships in pursuing a new business start-up, franchise opportunities or real estate ventures.
Professional athletes can be presented with endorsements, including equity opportunities, and business investment deals on a regular basis. Being familiar with issues like how to maximize and protect one’s self with equity opportunities, understand the anatomy and the diverse corporate structures used when entering a private investment deal along with the familiarization of how due diligence uncovers risk are critical for success.
Advisor selection and management
The selection and management of advisors is a whole new world for professional athletes. Younger players especially are going from never having been an employee to potentially needing to hire a comprehensive advisory team (ex. agent, marketing agent, business manager, financial advisor, accountant, insurer and others). Athletes as the “CEO of their own company” should be empowered to understand that all advisors work for them. They should also be educated in the areas of selection, scope, compensation and oversight, leading to having a solid process for changing advisors and adding new advisors, if and when needed.
Brand management, career planning and professional readiness
Establishing a personal brand outside of an athlete’s sport (leveraging their celebrity) is an important step thinking about the life and career transition into the professional level of a sport and then again, once their career comes to an end. An athlete hears that he should network, but doesn’t always know what that means and how to effectively do it. Having a strong grasp on executive presence and effective networking techniques helps an athlete maximize their time while they are playing, and set themselves up for an easier transition once their playing career comes to an end.
Social media from the legal perspective
The rapid evolution and use of social media platforms presents athletes with both new opportunities personally and professionally, but it also presents risks, as well. Understanding how to protect your brand and your persona rights given the use of social media is critical for all athletes to understand.
Manage personal relationships
Managing personal relationships includes guidance on responding to financial asks, the use of legal structures to protect the athlete, and also educating the team of advisors around the player on how to manage various requests. This is one of the most emotional challenges athletes face on a regular basis. Understanding how to say no, in addition to learning the right way to yes, are critical skills for athletes to acquire.