Football player celebrating with teammates

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3 Ways Athletes Are Strong Ambassadors for Your Brand

Why you may want to consider partnering with sports professionals to grow your business.

March 21, 2022

The life of a professional athlete is always changing. Because of fluid contracts, team trades, and waivers, players often have to move on short notice, and it can happen multiple times in a single season. So, relocation is a real, constant challenge for athletes, and they have to work with real estate professionals more frequently than the average person to come up with housing solutions. That means athletes are intimately familiar with what you bring to the table in a transaction and can be one of the most effective ambassadors for your brand. Here are three reasons you should consider partnering with athletes to build your business.

  1. Map of sports teams

    © Opensponsorship.com

    They can help you break into an exclusive market. Athletes often seek a greater level of privacy and a certain kind of elevated lifestyle. Daniela Zohlman, a sales associate with Engel & Voelkers Coconut Grove in Miami, says many athletes she works with are interested in off-market properties that offer exclusivity and come with amenities that may be hard to find on the open market. (Just make sure you’re following the National Association of REALTORS®’ MLS Clear Cooperation Policy when working with off-market homes.) This can introduce you to an entirely new property class and clientele you may not typically serve. Athletes usually move on a tight time frame, as team trades can happen with little notice. If you can perform well under pressure, your chances of getting referrals from these clients is high—and their sphere is full of other potential buyers and sellers at their level.
  2. They often purchase multiple homes. Professional athletes rarely get to play for their hometown teams. A player may be born and raised in Atlanta but drafted or contracted to play in San Francisco. Sports seasons don’t last the entire year, so most athletes will be looking for a comfortable home in the city where they work and the city where they’re from so they can be close to family during the offseason. Athletes also often buy a house for family members. There are plenty of feel-good stories about players making their first big purchase a new house for their mom. This can be a dream marketing opportunity for you to show you’ve helped entire families achieve their real estate goals.
  3. Many turn into real estate investors during or after their athletic career. When it comes time for professional athletes to retire, they are often looking for avenues to invest and create income opportunities. Real estate is one of the best ways to do that. NFL player William Sweet, for example, founded an investment firm, Sweet Ventures, which holds several rental properties in its portfolio. Sweet says he felt a sense of urgency early on in his career to invest his sports earnings, given the average NFL career lasts merely three seasons. Roger Staubach, Emmitt Smith, Magic Johnson—who spoke at NAR's annual Fall conference—Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Alex Rodriguez, and Martin Braithwire are other sports pros who have moved into the real estate realm. Braithwire once explained his reasoning for investing in real estate: “A sports career is short-lived and is uncertain. Business, real estate, legacy, passing it down to your children—that goes on for generations long after I’m gone.”
Ishveen Jolly

Ishveen is a trailblazer in the sports marketing industry, having built OpenSponsorship.com into the world’s largest marketplace connecting brands to athletes for digital marketing campaigns. Her accolades include getting on the Forbes 30U30 sports list, Inc’s top 100 female founders list, and raising over $5 million for the company, including from NBA team owners, athletes, notable VCs, and her alma mater, Oxford University. The marketplace has 12,000 athletes: 60% are managed by major sports agencies, and 40% are direct athletes. They have done 10,000 deals, including for brands like Walmart, Footlocker, ESPN, Fanduel, and hundreds more.

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