How the general public, and especially fans and supporters, view and perceive a professional athlete as a sports personality but also as a public figure can undoubtedly affect not only their brand’s strength but also their mental wellbeing and consequently their sports performance. A positive public perception can elevate an athlete in all aspects, leading to an upward spiral, whilst a negative public perception can lead to a vicious cycle of failure, which can be very difficult yet not impossible to get out of. An athlete who acts recklessly in their athletic and personal life may end up putting their reputation on the line, risking losing everything they worked so hard for in a split second. However, with proper branding and marketing efforts perceptions can change to a certain extent, and an athlete’s positive public image can be recovered.
Money Smart Athlete Blog
The aim of the Money Smart Athlete Blog is to provide athletes worldwide with the tools to become money smart and help them make savvy financial decisions. We created this blog to transmit and share the knowledge we have accumulated as financial and business advisors during the past two decades.
Are you taking responsibility for US Immigration Issues as a Pro Athlete? Failing to plan is “planning to fail”
Think back to the days of wine and roses...do you remember the wonderful moment when you signed with a top US team – and your life started moving at a mile a minute?
Over the course of the last six months or so, we have all been witnesses to a feud between Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United’s management and ownership. Months of rumours about Ronaldo’s off-the-field behaviour and attitude towards his teammates, managers and club owners culminated into an explosive interview of the Portuguese superstar with the British journalist Piers Morgan.
The end of any playing career is a bittersweet and emotional moment, as players must leave behind an important part of their lives, which they had cherished for years; training routines, travelling abroad, performing for their fans and celebrating their achievements. The prospect of letting go all of these and transitioning to a completely new way of life may be intimidating and stressful due to the uncertainty it comes with. Being emotionally and financially prepared is critical for a smooth transition to life after sports.
An athlete’s retirement day may come earlier than expected, due to various reasons, including the nature and intensity of their sport or due to injury. Therefore, athletes are required to have a retirement plan in place, so that they are sufficiently prepared. Since it is difficult for athletes to leave behind the sport they dedicated their whole life to, some may decide to pursue a path within the sports industry, to stay close to the action.
A critical realization professional athletes must make is that retirement from sports- voluntary or involuntary- is inevitable; with the average age of retirement being slightly below 30, depending on their sport. With a short earnings window, and numerous cases of athletes declaring bankruptcy right after retirement, it would be ideal for athletes to find that they have fully prepared and planned all along, when the day of retirement comes. With statistics reporting, that more than three-quarters of former NFL players were bankrupt within two years of retirement and 60% of former NBA players went broke within five years of retirement, planning from day one of gaining professional status is crucial. Professional athletes find themselves at the peak of their earnings early on in their sports career, creating the need for proper management and preparation to ensure that it lasts a long time.
The possibility of retirement- unexpected or planned- can be undoubtedly a challenging thought for an athlete who has sacrificed their time, effort and even personal life for the sake of their sport. However, retirement from sport is inevitable and it is best that when that time comes, an athlete finds themselves ready; having already prepared and planned for it, both financially and mentally, from their very early days. Athletes may retire for a number of reasons, ranging from injury and deteriorating physical condition, which is especially the case for NFL athletes, to poor mental health or even changing priorities and personal reasons, as was the case with tennis legend Serena Williams, who recently stepped away from tennis to focus on motherhood and growing her family.
The newly established NIL regulations for NCAA collegiate student-athletes, regarding partnerships and sponsorships have brought upon us exciting times for current and aspiring collegiate student-athletes, due to the wide range of opportunities opening up. However, one must be careful which partners or sponsors they choose to represent and be affiliated with, since this can greatly affect their professional profile and image, potentially following them for years thereafter, even after their athletic career comes to an end.
The emergence of social media and their continuous, fast-paced development through the years, have brought new levels of popularity and exposure for athletes; allowing them to promote and market their brand with greater ease, increasing their reach and audience engagement. Due to the great influence they exert on their fans and the general public, athletes can be considered as highly effective influencers for potential endorsements and promotional campaigns, ranging from sportswear to promoting social messages on current and prevalent issues such as mental health awareness.
As emphasized in our last Money Smart Athlete article, due to their relatively short careers, athletes need to create multiple revenue streams, diversifying their sources of income beyond their athletic contracts. This type of diversification can help athletes to optimize their earning potential, as part of their long-term financial strategy. As a result, athletes today tend to get involved in numerous off-field arrangements, including endorsements and sponsorships, which often provide them with as much or even more money than their sports contracts.
With professional athletes having a volatile income relative to other professions, due to their playing career having an expiry date, it is critical to diversify their income streams beyond their sports contract, to maximize their earnings potential, as part of their financial planning.
With professional athletes having a relatively short-lived career playing sports, relative to other professions, it is crucial for them to find ways to diversify their earnings streams outside of the playing field, during and after their sports career. A great way to do that is by taking advantage of the great influence they have on their fans and the general public; using their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) to build and commercialize their brand image and therefore capitalize on it through sponsorships, endorsements and partnerships. This can be achieved through the creation of personal marketing strategies with well-defined branding activities, which are in line with the athlete’s personal values and what they want to represent.
With athletes trying to make the most out of a relatively short-lived career in professional sports, they need to take advantage of how they engage with their fan base in order to build a strong connection through online social media platforms. Athletes of individual sports which are favored by the general public can be considered as a safe bet for industries looking to invest in athletes.
Solo-sport athletes are often compared to lone wolves, since they don’t have a team or in this case a pack to support them as athletes in team sports would. Therefore, it is crucial for them to create their own support system which should consist of professional advisors, among others.
For most solo sport athletes, given their constant traveling and inherent tax obligations, the subject of income taxes can be very scary. Although most solo-sport athletes have their own personal tax experts, knowing and understanding their tax obligations may sometimes spare them from major headaches. In this article, the Money Smart Athlete will explore the different tax obligations that solo-sport athletes have depending on their sources of income and where that income has been earned.
The life of solo-sport athletes may seem fascinating in the eyes of spectators, being the center of attention while they perform, having independence and autonomy since they don’t need to rely on the efforts of others; taking on all the credit for their success. However, there is much more to solo-sport athletes than meets the eye. From swimming, to running, to golf and tennis; individual sports come with a wide range of obstacles; proving to be more challenging emotionally and mentally; relative to individual sports.
When it comes to athletes and the challenges they face in their sports career, most people do not make the distinction between solo sports and team sports. However, the differences are significant, with solo-sport athletes facing a completely different set of obstacles relative to athletes in team sports, with loneliness being a great struggle. In individual sports, athletes only have themselves to rely on and when they fail to achieve their goals, the effect can be demoralizing; putting a strain on their emotional and mental health and well-being. This in turn can have a major impact on their personal life as a whole- not just on their sports performance.
With numerous cases of professional athletes making a transition into the entrepreneurial world, it seems like elite athletes are becoming more and more conscious of their potential as business leaders. Some may argue that athletes find it much easier to thrive as entrepreneurs since their popularity allows them to attract public interest when starting a new business. Professional athletes who are widely-recognized in their sport and are considered celebrities should be able to capitalize on that reputation and use their public exposure to flourish on a business level. There are two common ways athletes can become entrepreneurs; by starting their own businesses or forming partnerships to promote other firms' products and services utilizing their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL).
Entrepreneurial careers seem to be relatively common among athletes seeking to safeguard their financial stability, especially after retirement from sports. At a first glance, entrepreneurship may seem like the ideal career alternative to sports, due to the wide prospects it has to offer. However, it is important to start creating a realistic image of what entrepreneurship is actually like, that better reflects the truth, to allow athletes to understand which roles fit them best; aligning with their dreams and goals. Before deciding to take the risk of starting something new on your own; there are certain advantages and disadvantages which should be taken into consideration when making an informed decision.