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Athletes and Wealth

Front Office Sports

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By: Victor Cruz, @_CruzVictor

Photo by Tax Credits http://taxcredits.net

Antoine Walker, Vince Young, Terrell Owens, Mike Tyson, Ric Flair — what do all these athletes have in common? They have all lost the majority of wealth they earned during their careers (June 4, 2012 issue of Sportsnet). An athlete ending up broke after their playing career is a very important issue for those of us working in the sport industry.

First, it’s important to understand that athletes are human beings, who tend to base their loyalty and more importantly, their trust on feelings. Athletes may trust people based on how much they “like” them or how much they relate to them. However, liking someone does not always mean that person is qualified in a specific field or more importantly has an athlete’s best interest in mind.

In my experience working with athletes, the problem occurs when athletes decide who will manage their finances based on an emotional attachment, rather than making a smart business decision. Athletes consistently face being bombarded by all types of service providers looking to manage their finances. How do they choose one? Often their decision is based on who they “like” the most instead of treating like a business decision; with careful due diligence and research, they often resort to the method used for choosing friends. By doing so, they roll the dice as to whether the individual/firm they “like” is also good at what they do.

Under the umbrella of “Financial Advisor” & “Personal Business Manager” , there are many different companies with varying business models and even the most well-educated athlete can have a difficult time navigating through this crowded field. Most athletes are not well versed in wealth management. They are intelligent, but if they don’t come from wealth, they simply have never been exposed to such things as estate planning, powers of attorney, living trust, tax planning, etc. Wealth management is not simply having funds in an investment account and paying monthly expenses, but ensuring that those investments are producing at their optimum capabilities, that service providers are not charging you exorbitant fees, that every purchase decision is well informed and that you as an athlete understand financial ramifications of such decisions.

The companies in this field are in it ultimately to make money. As soon as the athlete understands that point the better they will be. Personal finance service providers are just that, paid to provide them a service. Athletes should want the highest level of service from professionals with a solid background and reputation.

It is the responsibility of those working as athlete advocates to help them become well-educated on the different business models that exist, the athlete’s need to formulate long-term goals for their wealth, and the need to treat the process of selecting a Financial Advisor/Personal Business Manager like a cold, calculated, non-emotional business decision. By doing so and making sure they have a well-planned financial checks and balances system in place, they will be better protecting their wealth and ensuring their financial well-being.

Digital Media

With Over 12 Billion Views, the NFL’s GIPHY Channel Becomes Most-Viewed Verified Channel on the Platform

Over 8.6k GIFs have been uploaded.

Adam White

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With over 8.6k GIFs uploaded to the platform, the two entities have been busy creating quality content. (FOS Illustration)

As the Patriots and Eagles get ready to face off in Super Bowl LII, you can find GIPHY present at some of the biggest moments of week capturing content and posting it to the NFL’s verified channel on the platform.

With over 8.6k GIF uploads and 12.4 billion GIF views, the NFL’s channel has become the most-viewed verified channel on the platform, something that the NFL attributes to fans and their passion for the game and the teams that they root for.

“We’re excited to see that the NFL has the most viewed channel on GIPHY,” said Blake Stuchin, NFL VP of Digital Media Business Development in a GIPHY post on Medium. “Our fans are incredibly passionate, and every day millions of them are sharing GIFs on GIPHY to express their fandom and talk with their friends.”

Although 12 billion views might seem like a crazy number, with GIPHY only counting a single load of a GIF as a view, not each cumulative loop, the number could be even higher.

For GIPHY, the success of the channel is a testament to the platform and its ability to drive conversation long after games are over, and in most cases, across every day of the year.

“The NFL entertains fans on game day. GIPHY amplifies and extends that entertainment by making it part of communication for fans all over the internet. Together, we make the game a part of every day,” said Blake Rachowin, GIPHY’s Director of Business Development in the same Medium post.

In an increasingly digital and multi-platform world, the NFL has to be happy with numbers like this, and it would not be surprising to see them try to monetize the channel in some way in the future.

For now, we can all just hope for more GIF-worthy celebrations and plays this Sunday.

Top 5 Most GIF Views By Team According to GIPHY

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Philadelphia Eagles
  3. Green Bay Packers
  4. Seattle Seahawks
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers

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Tech

With New Cleat, Adidas Changes the Production Game

The company can now take footwear from design, to production, to use in under 14 days.

Adam White

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adidas created cleats for their players in the Super Bowl in under 14 days. (Photo via Paul Murphy)

Before Amazon Prime made everyone want something in two days or less, there were shipping options for 14-day delivery. Whether it was the cheapest option, or we weren’t in a rush, consumers still had the option. Now, thanks to adidas, football cleats can go from design, to production, to use, in the same amount of time that people at one point would wait for cleats just to ship.

The revolutionary adidas Made For Minnesota (AM4MN) are the first football cleats to be digitally created inside the company’s SPEEDFACTORY facility in Ansbach, Germany.

Data-driven and digitally produced, the AM4MN takes the football cleat silhouette to the next level by incorporating a sneaker profile and redefining fit, comfort, movement, and a radically accelerated digital production process to deliver the most innovative football cleat ever.

Leveraging the technology inside of the SPEEDFACTORY, adidas was able to deliver the custom cleats in under 14 days, 3x faster than their standard production. With this new opportunity, the company will have a Fanatics like opportunity to create cleats and other footwear to capitalize on the biggest moments in sports and the speed desired for today’s consumers.

Player’s who will be wearing the cleats come Super Bowl Sunday include the likes of Jay Ajayi and Nelson Agholor from the Philadelphia Eagles as well as Malcolm Butler and Brandon Bolden from the New England Patriots.

The Tech Inside

A closer look at the adidas Made For Minnesota (AM4MN). (Photo via Pablo Murphy)

When creating the shoe, adidas designers utilized athlete foot scans and ARAMIS motion capture technology used by NASA to understand the precise details of how an athlete’s foot moves during a football game. They then took that data and used it to create a series of patches that have been strategically placed across different parts of the cleats to harnesses movement, provide stability and support, and deliver a precision fit that is specifically tuned for elite performance for football athletes.

As consumer habits continue to change, be on the lookout for how technology like this will continue to impact the desire to have everything as fast as possible.

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Tech

SEC Powerhouses Use Tech to Help Student-Athletes Build Their Brand

Auburn, Kentucky, and South Carolina have all turned to Birmingham-based INFLCR to deliver a more streamlined workflow.

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Auburn, Kentucky, and South Carolina have all turned to Birmingham-based INFLCR to deliver a more streamlined workflow. (Photo via Jim Cavale)

Facilities continue to get bigger, perks continue to get better, and apparel continues to get fresher, but the one thing that is catching the eyes of recruits and current student-athletes today is the ability for schools to help them build their personal brands responsibly.

From Instagram to Twitter, and even Facebook, highly-touted recruits like Zion Williamson have become social media sensations who have used the platforms to grow the hype around their game and their persona.

It’s this hype, and following, that student-athletes are no longer taking for granted, and instead, leveraging the creative ability and content generation capabilities of their respective schools to bolster their online brands.

For a player like Williamson, his athleticism and eye-popping dunks have allowed him to gain a following of 104k on just Twitter alone, a number that is higher than ten of the school’s team accounts that he will be competing against inside the ACC next year.

With an increased emphasis on not only growth inside of college digital departments, but ways to distribute the content that is being produced, some of the SEC’s biggest schools have turned to Birmingham-based tech company Influencer (INFLCR) to help them accomplish this task.

“Athletes want content quickly and they don’t want to have to do much to get their hands on it, said Austin Penny, Digital Media Specialist for Auburn Athletics. “Before INFLCR, our process was lengthy and we weren’t able to get content to our players in a useable way very quickly or efficiently. Now, players can access all of the content from their phones through the app and get notifications when they are tagged in a piece of content. Plus, they can share the content directly from the app or save it to their phones easily.”

The ability to share content directly to the student-athletes has allowed both Auburn and Kentucky to see a bump in following across all of their platforms, which INFLCR’s metrics dashboards allows them to aggregate and measure.

“We have seen an increase in follower numbers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for both our player’s individual accounts as well as UK MBB’s accounts,” said Eric Lindsey, Kentucky’s Associate Media Relations Director for Men’s Basketball and Women’s Golf. “We’ve also seen better fan engagement and more engagement with the content from our players.”

Not only has the software been pivotal for helping the digital teams deliver content to their student-athletes, it has allowed for a simplified way for recruiting staffs to monitor their player’s social media accounts.

“Our recruiting staff, in particular, loves how it streamlines the process of monitoring Twitter,” said Justin King, Associate AD for New & Creative Media for South Carolina Athletics.

Whether it is a new videographer, a new designer, or 3 more interns producing high-quality content, without the capabilities and tools to distribute the content, schools and their student-athletes miss out on the opportunity to leverage both of their strengths to create a cohesive brand image across team and player accounts.

“We want these guys from day one when they get here to have the tools they need to brand themselves and use social media like a pro so they’re prepared when they make it to the next level.” – Eric Lindsey, Associate Media Relations Director for Men’s Basketball and Women’s Golf for Kentucky Athletics

As relationships have grown and the demand from the programs has continued to increase, INFLCR has had to scale alongside their partners, something that has been a learning experience for everyone involved.

“Like most young software as a service (SaaS) brands, we are learning a ton from our clients, and luckily we are nimble enough to provide them with everything they can ask for,” said Jim Cavale, Founder and CEO of INFLCR

For years, we have been told that content is king, and while that may be true, the opportunity to streamline distribution of content that has had countless amounts of resources devoted to it might just be queen.

With access to distribution funnels that now work across channels, Kentucky, Auburn, and South Carolina all have the ability to have their student-athletes become their biggest brand advocates while allowing them to reap the benefits of having high-quality content readily available, something that Austin Penny takes great pride in.

“Being able to tell these guys that coming to Auburn not only means they’ll get an education and get to play football, but also means they will have the opportunity to use their platform as a college athlete to grow their personal brand using the tools we have here is huge.”

As programs continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of their student-athletes, recruits and their families are looking for more than juice bars and gaudy gyms, they are looking for the tools that will prepare them and give them the chance to succeed whether or not they touch the field as a professional.

It’s this change, and the shift in mentality for recruits, that will shape the next wave of investments at the collegiate athletic level, and for Justin King, a movement that is already paying dividends.

“INFLCR has become a powerful recruitment tool for us. Being able to use the INFLCR app to show not only recruits, but their parents, how easy it is to receive and share content has been a huge selling point for our program.”

*INFCLR is a Proud Partner of Front Office Sports.

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