From Franchise Tags to Franchising: Athletes Retiring to Franchises
When athletes retire from the spotlight, where do they turn? Bringing millions of dollars, a history of leadership, and a work ethic from years of practice, more and more professional athletes are turning from the field to the franchise. Who has already moved to the franchise world? What makes an athlete a prime candidate for the franchise?
Over the past few years, pro athletes have become a rising presence in the franchise world. Many chains have made recruiting former players a part of their game plan for expansion, hosting seminars and networking events, and offering support to get the stars up to speed on running a business.
Franchise Success Stories
Who has already made the move? From NBA retiree Junior Bridgeman to NFL great Peyton Manning, the prospect of franchising has become more and more lucrative.
Tony Bland (NFL): After playing with the Vikings for four years and as a Francorp client, Tony started PROtential Sports allowing him to pursue his passion of “helping children learn life skill through sports.”
Junior Bridgeman (NBA): Currently owns a portfolio of companies that oversee hundreds of franchises, including Wendy’s , Chili’s and Fannie May Fine Chocolates.
Jamal Mashburn (NBA): After retiring from a long NBA career, Jamal Mashburn has taken an ownership interest in more than 70 franchise restaurants, including Outback Steakhouse , Papa John’s and Dunkin’ Donuts.
Peyton Manning (NFL): A current player, Peyton Manning has already become a Papa John’s franchisee and pitchman.
Bryan Scott (NFL): After retiring from the NFL, Mr. Scott looked to step away from football, took a franchising opportunity with Title Boxing Club during a networking event at the Super Bowl last year.
Other names come up, including James Atkins, Troy Aikman, Jerome Bettis, and Brandon Gorin. But what makes these athletes a good choice for franchising?
Why Do Professional Athletes Make for Excellent Franchisees?
Looking to continue making money after retirement, many professional athletes do not want to end up on 30 for 30, broke and without transferable skills in today’s market. With a few million in their bank, they can easily start the franchising process without much work with banks. This comes as the first benefit, as the recent recession drove banks to tighten lending standards. With capital on hand and a strong marketing presence, their ability to start franchising is much easier than someone who needs a loan to start.
They also make great leaders on the job, as players can be good leaders and motivators, and are used to working within a team and “following a playbook,” says John Rotche, president of Title Boxing Club, which has screened more than 30 athletes this year who are interested in becoming franchisees.
Other skills commonly held by athletes make them franchise players. Time Management, Adaptation to Structure, and Local Impact are among the top reasons cited by headquarters in franchisee selection.
Outside Help: The Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative
Many of these athletes look to the corporate headquarters for guidance, but there is a new force in the market for athlete franchisees. The Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative, a program of the International Franchise Association that helps players transition into a post-sports career, is piloting a program where athletes are mentored by successful franchisees and complete a yearlong business-education course and brief apprenticeship.
Franchising Opportunities Available
Just because professional athletes make opportune franchisees, doesn’t mean you have to be one to succeed. Through Francorp’s training and coaching, we have helped thousands open and manage their own franchise location. See some of our success stories, learn more about the businesses we franchise, and contact us to learn about becoming a franchisee.