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New PlayersTV Series ‘Front Office’ Will Highlight The Investing Acumen Of Athlete Entrepreneurs

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The term athlete empowerment is mostly used when an athlete in a team sport uses their leverage to dictate a favorable outcome for themselves, such as forcing a trade or putting pressure on ownership to improve the talent around them.

Rarely is the term used to define how more and more athletes are utilizing their platforms for investing or helping provide resources and job opportunities to the communities they were nurtured in.

PlayersTV will look to highlight the process behind the strategies and conversations of these business deals with their new original series, Front Office, debuting on the network on November 14 and release weekly through December 12. Entrepreneurs will pitch their business ideas to secure early-stage funding from a lineup of athlete investors. The series is executive produced by Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul and his company Ohh Dip!!! Productions and presented by UBS.

Along with Paul, Allyson Felix, Travis Kelce, Michelle Wie-West and Vernon Davis are some of the special guests that will appear on Season One.

“I’m thrilled to collaborate with PlayersTV and UBS to spotlight a handful of up-and-coming companies started by passionate entrepreneur founders,” said Paul. “This season of Front Office features some of the biggest names in sports and showcases how they each approach a new business opportunity. Audiences will soon learn Vernon, Allyson, Travis and Michelle are savvy athlete-investors with a sharp eye for evolving their brand portfolio with unique, high-upside companies.”

As the Head of Sports and Entertainment at UBS, former NFL defensive end Wale Ogunleye says the concept of the show is embedded in each of the athlete investors in wanting to highlight their entrepreneurial/philanthropic mindset. There is also a competitive drive to quiet critics who are of the mindset that athletes should just shut up and dribble and just stick to sports. Given how short the average athletic career is, Front Office is also about looking ahead to when there is no next play or game to focus on.

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“It’s about being successful in all that you do and knowing that there is really only 15 minutes in the spotlight,” said Ogunleye. “You might be a Tom Brady or a CP3 where you get an extended run but for a majority of us, it’s only 15 minutes of your life and then it’s what are you going to do next?

“From the UBS perspective, this went in line with our theme of showing the world with the right support system and team, those 15 minutes can turn into a legacy and that’s the theme of this show.”

It wasn’t too long ago that there would only be a slight mention of the business ventures of an athlete and most of the attention came after they were done playing. Now, it seems like every few weeks, there is a headline about an athlete either investing into or partnering with a company.

Thanks to social media, the reach of athletes is at an all-time high. These platforms give them the opportunity to build and define their personal brands from the early stages of their athletic careers. The reach these platforms provide are highly coveted by brands and companies and the business conversations now are beginning to extend beyond just simple endorsements.

“Athletes have an opportunity now to take ownership in everything that they endorse or invest in personally,” Davis said. “I call it, “controlling the narrative.” I hope Front Office helps show younger athletes how they can create whatever it is they want while being sophisticated in business. Give them understanding that business is just as important as their career.”

We’re only a few months into the NIL (name, image, and likeness) era and student-athletes as young as 16 have already signed lucrative deals worth tens to hundreds of thousands. While it’s long overdue for young athletes to start being able to profit off the notoriety and revenue they generate for schools and universities, these deals place an even greater value on financial education and management.

Most professional athletes come from backgrounds where there is a lack of both conversation and proper knowledge on finances. With the NIL deals, there are even earlier chances for financial pitfalls. Ogunleye says one of biggest mistakes that an athlete can make is lack of planning. While Front Office will make for good content for viewers in seeing their favorite athletes in a new light, he also believes it will help the continuation of more post career success stories for the next generation of athletes.

 “What this show does from the ground level, and with some of the most powerful athletes in the world, is you get to see some of the brain trust around them,” Ogunleye said. “You get to see how they think and some of the questions they ask. For younger players that look up to these athletes, you see the smart, intelligent people around them and that’s the number one way the younger athletes are going to learn. It’s easy for me to say, “do this and that,” but if I can actually show them the A’s, B’s, and C’s, they have a better chance of succeeding once the money begins to come in.”