Sport Stars Who Own Franchises

Mariyam Shamshidova

Published in BlogJan 16, 2024

Why Franchising?

ESPN’s “30 for 30” film Broke reveals that 60% of NFL players face bankruptcy within five years of leaving the sport. Savvy agents are using franchising to solve this problem by allowing professional athletes to build generational wealth through franchising. Bringing their discipline, capital, community connections and public recognition, athletes make perfect franchisees.

We’re hosting an event during the Superbowl Week to connect athletes to franchises in partnership with former NFL athletes: NY Giants running back Kenyon Rasheed, NY Giants quarterback Danny Kanell, and New Orlean Saints linebacker Brian Jones. All event details here.

We gathered over a hundred examples of athletes who own franchises inside this database , and visualized some of them below:

Athletes who own franchises

Insights from our database:

Most Popular Franchises Among Athletes:

Dunkin' appears frequently, with athletes like Kris Brown, Tony McGee, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Jerry Jones involved.

Wingstop is another popular choice, with Ron Stone, Bryan Scott, Richard Sherman, Sidney Rice, and Drew Gooden.

Jamba Juice is favored by Venus Williams, Mohamed Sanu, Vernon Davis, and Junior Bridgeman.

Papa John's is mentioned with Shaquille O’Neal, Peyton Manning, Jamal Mashburn, and Walter McCarty.

Jersey Mike's is chosen by Adrian Gonzalez and Angelo Crowell.

Team Representation:

Both NFL and NBA players are prominently featured. NFL players have a slightly higher representation in franchise ownership.

Other sports like Golf (Phil Mickelson), Tennis (Venus Williams), and Baseball (Alex Rodriguez) are also represented, though a lot less frequently.

Unique Entries:

Some athletes have unique franchise choices, like Tim Tebow with Clean Juice and D1 Sports, Magic Johnson with Starbucks and TGI Fridays, and Lebron James with Blaze Pizza.

Non-Food Franchises:

Athletes are not limited to food and beverage franchises. They are also involved in fitness (24 Hour Fitness, D1 Sports, Stretch Zone), and various service industries (Nexthome, Pridestaff, Conquer Ninja, Senior Helpers, ZIPS).

There are notable investments in non-food franchises, such as Senior Helpers (John Skelton), Pridestaff (Lonnie Young), Conquer Ninja (Ben Utecht), and Get Air (Jared Jeffries).

Success Stories:

NFL player Donnell Thompson made a significant mark in franchising with investments in Denny's, and Zaxby's. His statement, “I’ve been able to make more money in franchising than I was playing football,” is a testament to the lucrative potential of franchising for athletes post their sports careers. His dedication to learning the McDonald's system by working for free during off-seasons is a unique story of commitment and hands-on learning in the franchising world.

Former NBA player Junior Bridgeman has built a massive business empire. His company, which employs over 15,000 people, owns 195 Wendys and 124 Chili's restaurants. His net worth is estimated at $600 million, showcasing an extraordinary success story in the transition from sports to business.

Ex-NFL player Marcus Burley invested in Saladworks, understanding the short career span of professional athletes. His quote, “NFL stands for ‘not for long’,” reflects the mindset of athletes who plan for life beyond their sports careers.

Shaquille O’Neal, a legendary NBA player, has a diverse portfolio including Five Guys, Auntie Anne's, Papa John's, Krispy Kreme, and 2 24 Hour Fitness. He also became a partner and spokesman for Papa John's, demonstrating his multifaceted business acumen.

LeBron James’s investment in Blaze Pizza has been particularly successful, with his initial $1 million investment growing to $35 million in value. His active promotion of the brand using his social media influence is a prime example of leveraging fame for business success.

Jamal Mashburn, a former NBA player, has an extensive portfolio including 38 Outback Steakhouse, 40 Papa John's, and three Dunkin'. His annual earnings from these ventures surpass his average NBA salary, highlighting the potential of smart investments.

Full database here.

Franchise Demo Day X NFL Alums is an event that brings together top franchisors and professioanl athletes. Event details here.

Written byMariyam Shamshidova

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