ESPN – For years, private investors have quietly backed up-and-coming boxers, tennis players, horses and golfers, but now the public is getting a chance to really own a piece of an athlete. On Thursday, Fantex Brokerage Services announced its intention to allow fans to invest in stock related to the performance of an athlete’s brand. The company said its initial public offering will be for Houston Texansrunning back Arian Foster. Fantex is paying Foster $10 million for a 20 percent stake in his future income, including contracts, endorsements and other related business revenue. The company will begin taking reservations in the next two weeks and could be selling shares of Foster in as soon as a month depending on demand and progress with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It’s much like fantasy sports, except fans will be trading on Foster’s business value. If he does well on the field and companies become more interested in Foster as an endorser, his stock might go up. Fans can then buy and sell shares, with Fantex taking a commission. The company says it is hoping to acquire a future stake in athletes but does not have any other deals finalized at this time. “Fantex is bringing sports and business together in a way never previously thought possible,” CEO Buck French said in a statement. “By building a marketplace that allows customers to buy shares in a tracking stock linked to the value and performance of an athlete’s brand, Fantex is enabling a new level of brand advocacy through ownership.” French told ESPN.com that the company would collect 20 percent of what Foster makes going forward, including money made from the five-year contract with the Texans he signed last season that guaranteed him $20.7 million. Foster also will make money on his endorsement deals with Under Armour and Fuse Science, and he recently acquired a stake in chia bar company Health Warrior. Fantex’s success could depend on how many athletes are willing to give up a piece of their future income and how early in a career Fantex can secure a deal. French disagrees with the latter point, saying there are some athletes who would be good to invest in for their post-career businesses.
This is absolutely wild. Fantasy sports turned reality investing with just a tadddd of racist undertones because its a white guy buying black folks. Think about how mad you are when a player doesn’t perform for you in a fantasy league and now imagine you bought real life stock in him. Think about if you scoop up a late draft pick for pennies that turns into Tom Brady. Purchase a piece of that no name wide receiver from UMass that turns into Victor Cruz. Endorsements and guaranteed money as far as the eye can see and your stock goes through the roof. Not even sure how it would work for already established players. Take Eli Manning for example – having a horrible season but does that even matter? He’s already established himself as a New York City Legend. Already has that 100 million dollar contract and endorsement deals. Would his value even take a hit? Is his stock untouchable the way his reputation in New York is? Is he like a blue chip stock that never falters? I feel like the only real appeal is to buy up rookies or guys about to make the jump, not established stars. Interesting stuff.
Its an interesting move from Arian Foster’s side of things too. Giving up 20% of his own worth for $10 million up front. Gotta imagine thats probably a pretty appropriate figure after he signed a $43.5 million dollar deal. Obviously you kind of shoot yourself in the foot if you end up skyrocketing to the top of the league, but in a sport where guaranteed money is the end all be all, and injuries can take away everything, $10 mil up front is enticing. A guy like Arian Foster by now knows exactly what he is and what he isn’t, 10 mil for 1/5th of his worth when only $20 million is guaranteed is probably in the right ballpark. At least I think. I don’t invest in normal stocks and shit, I certainly don’t know the first fucking thing about investing in black men. Thats another wrinkle to this story – the guys who are gonna try to be Fantex gurus. I’d imagine someone like Lenny fucking Dykstra is gonna try to write the complete guide to investing in giant black men like its the goddam 1850s. I mean think about your buddy who thinks he’s the fantasy sports master and never talks about anything else…now think about your asshole friend who’s the Finance Douche Bro who loves talking about trading and investing. Combine those two assholes and you’re gonna have Fantex Fanboys.
Chances are this doesn’t really work and never takes off and just fizzles, but its a cool idea nonetheless.