The sports world is a beautiful place. It can create legends, hopes and dreams. What it’s really good at is taking the very best athletes, who often make the most money, and fashioning them to be entrepreneurs.
An athlete in any major American sport can only play for so long. Once they hit their mid to late 30’s serious discussions are had to determine where the athlete goes once he or she has retired from playing professional sports. Some become coaches, some open restaurants, and some position themselves to buy entire sports franchises. The very few who do end up purchasing those franchises are what I like to call ‘sportrepreneurs.’
‘Sportrepreneur, you say?’
The following will consider five of the best or most successful athletes that became sportrepreneurs.
5) His Airness: Michael Jordan.
Everyone knows MJ. He’s the king of basketball greatness and is literally treated as a royal wherever he goes. He can be credited with helping the internationalization of the NBA. In February of 2010 Jordan became majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. His expertise on the court has not translated well off the court. Despite heading a massive holdings group that includes his clothing line and a motorsports team (both of which have been highly successful), the Bobcats have been terrible. Jordan’s decisions have been riddled with criticism and his game off the court isn’t as stellar as it was on the court (so far).
4) His Skillness: David Beckham.
State side he is more famous for his modeling advertisements and wife Vicky, but David Beckham recently purchased ownership in a new expansion soccer team in Miami. It will play in Major League Soccer. It’s not so clear whether it will be the success it potentially stands to be. Miami is the perfect place for some futbol, and on the business side Becks has an outstanding record of good decisions, which unlike his hairstyles, is a good thing for Miami.
3) His Gretzness: Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky is arguably one of the best professional hockey players of all time. His time in hockey didn’t end after his retirement. He was approached to buy a portion of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2001 and after years of complications and reorganization he eventually did. His tenure there as part owner, and coach was at the very best: middle of the road. Gretzky the Sportrepreneur was a bit like Jordan in his effectiveness off the ice.
2) Jerry Richardson
Don’t know who Jerry Richardson is? Well, he’s a former 1958, 13th round draft pick for the NFL’s Baltimore Colts. Richardson also founded and is the principal owner of the Carolina Panthers. He is the precedent on how an athlete becomes a sportrepreneur. His team has gone to the Super Bowl once and is poised to make a strong statement in next years playoffs.
1) His Wizardness: Magic Johnson.
Magic Johnson is one the most high profile sportrepreneurs. He began Magic Johnson Enterprises which as of 2014 was worth nearly $700 million. His company made a successful bid in 2012 to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers, the deal was worth an estimated $2 billion. Although it’s not his sport, business is Magic’s new game and so far, so good.
Posted By Zev Ginzburg