Shaking Things Up In The World Of Sports
Takeovers in Sports: Runway, Real Estate, and TheScore With Sports Betting
Our thoughts are with the country and people of Ukraine, hoping a peaceful end is near.
On Today’s Agenda:
Jack Grealish Signs With Gucci
Athletes Become Real Estate Moguls
TheScore Coming In With A Bang
Athletes Are Taking Over The Runway
Jack Grealish Signs With Gucci
It wasn’t too long ago when football players and fashion designers could not be pictured in the same room. Traditionally, football is a working-class sport where simplicity and cost-effectiveness were standard. Managers preferred for players to stay grounded and avoided drawing attention to themselves as it could potentially distract the team and hurt them in the long run.
However, the view has since changed and athletes all over the world now have brand endorsements for just about everything they own. Take Lionel Messi for example. His popularity has earned him deals with Adidas, Gatorade, Pepsi, Lays, Konami, and much more. In fact, his sponsorships helped him become the second-highest-paid athlete of 2021. But despite his status of being one of two of the best football players in the world for the last decade, not even Messi has earned a sponsorship from a luxury fashion company like Gucci. It’s not just about performance and marketability for fashion brands, you need to fit into their target market. That’s where Jack Grealish comes in.
Fresh off a €100 million transfer from his boyhood club Aston Villa to the Premier League champions Manchester City, Grealish has kept his place in the spotlight. Although his game time and results have not been outstanding, he’s held his own in a talented City lineup and has earned starts for England. More importantly, Grealish has stayed in the news for his extravagant outfits and outlandish personality. With fans either praising him for bringing creativity to matchday outfits or criticizing him for trying to bring unneeded attention to himself, people are talking about Jack Grealish. And that’s exactly what Gucci looks for in their brand ambassadors.
Earlier this year, Gucci partnered with Francis Bourgeois to showcase a collaboration between Gucci and The North Face. Bourgeois rose to fame by recording his reactions to spotting trains across England and posting them on TikTok. Many people criticized him after his popularity exploded but Bourgeois ignored the hate and continued to post his reactions. Soon after, Gucci reached out and he starred in several photoshoots for the brand. Other Gucci brand ambassadors include Jared Leto and Harry Styles, both of which have maintained their spot in the public’s eye through their flashy, and sometimes innovative, styles and personalities.
There’s no doubt that football is becoming more “trendy” and fashion brands are starting to catch on. Back in 2014, Real Madrid partnered with designer Yohji Yamamoto to create an iconic third jersey. In 2018, Serie A titans Juventus released a one-off collaboration with streetwear brand Palace. Even Off-White has recently released a complete football collection. However, luxury brands such as Gucci aren’t looking for an athlete endorsement to help expand their target market. They’re after someone who represents the Gucci brand well and isn’t afraid to show their personality when facing doubters. If you’re looking for someone in the Premier League to do exactly that, then Jack Grealish is the perfect player to represent Gucci.
The Business of the Athlete
How Former Basketball Pros Are Set To Become The Next Real Estate Moguls
What happens after the lights are shut off on an athlete’s playing career, and they decide to call it a career? Many continue to stay close to the game in coaching, management, or broadcasting related roles – whereas others venture off into the twilight and enjoy the retired life away from any attention. However, a trend has emerged in the last 20 years where we find athletes in new ventures that may have been previously unheard of. As the workforce evolves every few years, athletes are not shying away from reinventing themselves, and establishing themselves in fields that may not have been previously occupied by athletes.
One example of this is Aston Rose Sports & Entertainment, a newly founded real estate agency by athletes, for athletes. Co-Founders Lisa Leslie and Tomi Rose are spearheading this group of former athletes helping current athletes, coaches, and management staff to find luxury accommodation in the form of rentals, leases, and buying/selling services. Leslie, who is a pro basketball Hall of Famer (not to mention one of the greatest WNBA players of all time) mentioned the importance of having former athletes (especially African Americans) who can provide sound support and insight to young athletes who are brand new to wealth management real estate. “We understand that many African American and minority athletes are making money for the first time… many of those athletes fall into the trap of it being about things that don't appreciate in value for them; our firm is changing that," Leslie discussed in an interview.
Leslie’s co-founder, Tomi Rose, is a trailblazer in the athlete real estate space. A former professional cheerleader, Rose has been innovating in this space for the past 20 years. Additionally, she is VP of the NBA’s National Basketball Wives Association, creating and strengthening relationships with the wives of NBA players. It is no surprise to see Rose’s success in the real estate space given how closely she works with the players’ wives – it all comes back to how any individual (athletes specifically) can create their brand image and use it to their advantage. Rose’s work with the players’ wives directly connects to the work of a real estate agent, and filling the gap as someone who can be dependable and innovative has led to her success over the past 2 decades.
Joining Rose and Leslie are Rob Hite and Rod Watson, who are former pro basketball players, and have established a career as real estate agents. Watson has helped the likes of LaMelo Ball, De’Aaron Fox, and Zach Randolph with luxury real estate advice. Hite has become one of the top luxury real estate figures in Miami for athletes, having sold one of the region's top penthouses to David and Victoria Beckham.
As a service by athletes, for athletes, the recipe for success for Aston Rose is there. Athletes who continue to be empowered to explore opportunities in real estate, wealth management, and other athlete related services will have an advantage as a former athlete that non-athletes in the space do not have. We hope to see more athletes find pathways to support their fellow athletes and pursue their own ventures, and become innovators and entrepreneurs as they develop their own craft outside of their sport.
Leveraging Brand To Enter A New Stratosphere
TheScore Bet Coming In With A Bang
For centuries, betting on sports has been a common activity, whether it was betting shillings on a horse race in the 19th century or simply betting on who would win the Superbowl with your friends. However, now betting has changed entirely. Without the need for bookies, most professional sports betting is done online, a market previously dominated mainly by the likes of William Hill, Bet365, and ProLine. Well not anymore.
TheScore, a very well-known sports media company that covers everything from scores, to trade rumours, to general sporting news, from across hundreds of leagues worldwide, is now entering the game. 3 days ago, on April 4th, the Score Bet app launched in Ontario, and it will change everything.
One thing that many betting companies struggle with is attracting new customers and making themselves appear legitimate in the consumer's eye. Most people aren’t always 100% convinced of the legitimacy of certain bets. Is my payment secure? Is this legal? Will I get hacked? All of these are asked of even some of the biggest betting apps such as BetWay, whose app looks like it hasn’t been updated in 10 years. Most gambling companies are then going and spending millions on long-running TV ads to convince consumers that they are legit and should bet with them, often offering a free $10 bet to sign up.
TheScore Bet app is avoiding these issues altogether. Rather than starting an unsecured, unknown betting company from the ground up, TheScore pre-established themselves in the sporting industry in North America, with millions of people downloaded their app already. What the Score has done is ask themselves: rather than waste millions on ad placements on social media youtube, or TV, why not internally promote to the pre-existing millions of fans? And that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Now, on the Score App, users are met with a pop-up asking if they want to download the Score betting app directly from their regular app. Additionally, no longer does sports betting feel illegal online or using some very old and outdated UX design and operating system (don’t worry, you know who you are). theScore constantly updates its design and the UX feels unique to this app and makes the gambling feel safe and secure.
To top it all off, the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed on a 10-year partnership with Score Media and Gaming that will become the MLB team’s exclusive partner. theScore will get exclusive national marketing rights from the team, spanning sports betting, physical and online casinos, and fantasy sports. Additionally, Rogers centre will supposedly be opening a “theScore” branded sports bar and restaurant at the stadium, and will also be introducing co-branding elements in the stadium such as premium seating.