Athletes are increasingly becoming more entrepreneurial by starting their own business ventures and making heaps of money off-field.
In the era of the internet and social media, athletes with large online followings and audiences located around the world can pivot their influence and direct consumers’ attention to their personal business ventures easily.
We will talk over specific examples later in the article, but the reason this issue is of importance, is because of its implications to how athletes are compared amongst one another, and between different sports leagues, based on their earnings.
A recent estimate by Find Betting Sites for the world’s 100 highest paid athletes showcased 100 athletes, with an estimation of their earnings. The list spanned across 10 different sports and entailed professional sports people from 23 different countries. Their methodology ranked athletes based on total earnings, which were comprised of salary and winnings, as well as endorsement income. Money and earnings coming from salary and competition winnings are prize money inclusive of special bonuses paid throughout the time period studied, alongside anything like signing bonuses, or other incentives in relation to the way bonuses are paid out in different sports leagues.
Endorsement income, however, includes earnings from corporate partnerships, sponsorships, royalties, selling of merchandise as well as some forms of personal investment income. Here is where this situation gets interesting; Conor McGregor topped the list, being featured as the highest-paid athlete in the world. However, out of the estimated $208 million that McGregor is set to earn in 2021, approximately $170 million is to be made from the sale of his Irish whiskey company, Proper No. Twelve. There are other interesting examples of celebrities pushing their own alcohol brands, such as Ryan Reynolds’ ‘Aviation American Gin’, as well as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s ‘Teremana Tequila’; in short, celebrities and sportsmen alike have creatively ventured into other areas of business.
What makes athletes great entrepreneurs?
The world of the entrepreneur is one of constant grind, hard work, dedication and more; and the skills required by entrepreneurs to be successful in their field are also shared by what athletes require for success, here are a few:
- Goal oriented: Athletes are required to constantly set personal and team goals and then work hard to fulfil them. Whether these goals are focused around scoring a certain number of goals in the next match, or winning the Champions league, entrepreneurs are also skilled in being able to conceptualize their future path into short- and long-term goals.
- Conscientiousness: Setting goals is one part of the path to success, but actually executing is another. Athletes and entrepreneurs alike are incredibly self-driven and lack the need for any outside motivation to complete their task. Sure, the cheer of the fans is exhilarating, but athletes are in a state of constant grind; every day, when the coach or fans aren’t around, they are putting in the work.
- Thick skin: The ability to handle failure and keep pushing is an absolute must for both athletes and entrepreneurs. Life is never a smooth path to victory and athletes are sure to lose heart-breaking games, or suffer defeat in other ways – just like in the business world.
There are more and more athletes which have successfully making the transition to the business world, and are thriving as entrepreneurs. Sure, people like to focus on the money being made and wonder if there is anything else that people strive for other than lucrative payoffs. But, throughout this article, we have demonstrated that perhaps what makes someone a great athlete, is also the characteristic prone to creating a successful entrepreneur.