The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) and Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have come to an agreement with RedBird Capital Partners to form a company called OneTeam Partners LLC to manage the portrayals of players, according to Miriam Gottfried, Andrew Beaton, and Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
Both unions have long negotiated the sales of players’ likeness and image to gaming, trading card, poster, and other companies independently. It appears both believe they could benefit from teaming up and investing in other opportunities with the proceeds. RedBird Capital paid $125 MM for roughly a 40% share in the company, per the report, the unions annually make roughly $120 MM from standard licensing agreements.
Players will still receive their standard annual payouts from the deals, but RedBird will use the funds to invest in other opportunities. The NFL and MLB unions are not the only ones looking at turning licensing revenue into grander investments. The WNBA, MLS, and U.S. Women’s Soccer team will all be investing in the fund and are in talks to potentially join OneTeam as well, per the report.
As revenues have exploded, especially in the three major sports leagues, teams and leagues have begun to use their revenues to diversify their investments beyond the field. It now seems players are interested in trying to do the same.