A blinking light catches the corner of my eye. I pause and shift my attention to the kitchen table next to the sink. Sitting there motionless sits my phone, almost daring me to unlock it. Anticipation starts to build as I get closer. I brace for impact as my finger glides across the screen – my worst fear is realized. The ESPN Fantasy Football notification splayed across my phone reads: Adrian Peterson scores 3 TD’s in domination fashion. I had just lost my fantasy football matchup by 50 points eliminating me from the playoffs. Depression ensued.
While the thought of adults “drafting” football players and hashing it out gladiator style each week sounds ridiculous to some, Forbes estimates that Fantasy Football is now a $70 billion market. To put that in perspective, the NFL’s annual revenue falls just under $10 billion.
As captivating as Fantasy Football is, what if someone could take that thought and stretch it even farther? What if you could make actual money on these athletes in real time? What would happen if you combined the stock market and paired it with athletes and celebrities? What if I told you this “thought” is actually reality?
*Fantex, a San Francisco company led by CEO Buck French, filed IPO papers today to raise $10 million for an interest in the current and future earnings of star running back Arian Foster of the Houston Texans. Fantex is setting up tracking stocks for pro athletes that can only be bought and sold on its own exchange. French told USA Today that if the Foster IPO is a hit, the company plans to create tracking stocks on other athletes and entertainers.
According to the IPO filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Foster will get the $10 million raised in the offering and Fantex will get 20 percent of whatever the player earns in the future from salary, endorsements, TV appearances and other sources of income. If the full $10 million doesn’t sell, everybody gets their money back and the deal is void.
From an advertising standpoint, we are a culture focused on real time products offering real time solutions. Investing in athletes embraces both of these thoughts. We’ve seen the recent success of Old Spice with the Wes Welker endorsements and Nike’s with Tiger Woods. Athletes have always possessed a keen ability to make brands stronger, so instead of growing the businesses of others they will now have the opportunity to grow their own business.
This idea could very well change the way individuals invest in their future. Instead of investing in businesses with high profits and high dividends, we now have the ability to invest in those we constantly read about. Those that live in the limelight. Those we dream of being.
Talk about real Social Media.
*Goff, Brian. “The $70 Billion Fantasy Football Market.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 Aug. 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.