The age of the entrepreneur athlete

Lerone Graham Roar Rookie

By Lerone Graham, Lerone Graham is a Roar Rookie New author!


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    Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor trade punches during their super welterweight boxing match on August 26, 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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    Gatekeepers are crumbling in every industry, allowing entrepreneurs to reap their dreams more than ever.

    Athletes are becoming titans of industry, rather than being beholden to their leagues.

    For the most glaring example of athletes knowing their worth and capitalising, look no further than the recent Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor fight. This fight was an international smash hit, raking between four and five million buys, with Floyd taking home a $100 million purse and Conor earning about $30 million.

    The major key in all of this?

    They didn’t go through boxing sanctioning bodies or UFC to make it happen.

    Floyd Mayweather has shown brilliance in the ring and at the negotiation table, to the point that he’s set the blueprint that other athletes have followed, in terms of taking themselves serious as business people. ‘Money’ is more than just a monicker – Floyd is one of the highest paid athletes in sports history.

    You can bet that we’re just scratching the surface in seeing athletes putting their brand and business moves above allegiance to a particular organisation.

    The entire landscape of the UFC is shifting, with fighters looking to cash out with big money fights rather than planning fights based on rankings and mandatory challengers alone. McGregor and Manny Pacquiao are supposedly in negotiations for a money fight.

    Brock Lesnar has built a lucrative career since he took pro wrestling by storm in the mid-2000s, before trying out for the Minnesota Vikings and eventually heading to UFC, where he became the World Heavyweight champ. He’s now at the point where he can approach UFC and WWE from a position of power, naming his price and terms, since his talents have made him a household name.

    Now that Ronda Rousey’s star has dimmed in fight sports, it’s reported that her making the jump to WWE is basically a done deal.


    (AP Photo/John Locher)

    Fight sports aside, we saw something new and interesting this year with Ice Cube and investors launching the Big 3 – a 3-on-3 basketball league featuring former NBA players. In the same year, Lavar Ball created controversy with his heavy-handed approach to managing his star sons.

    However, he’s also received a lot of support and praise from entrepreneurs for deciding to put out Big Baller Brand athletic gear, rather than having his son Lonzo sign the typical Nike, Adidas and Under Armour deals after getting drafted to the Lakers.

    He pulled his other sons, LaMelo and LiAngelo out of UCLA to opt to play ball overseas instead. The entire family has built a brand based on power moves, brashness and controversy, to the point that the sports world and even the president is locked in to their every move.

    With this brand recognition, imagine the Ball brothers joining the Big 3 to form their own team. Or better yet – imagine them forming their own league to showcase their talents.

    Bottom line, it’s the age of the business-minded dreamer that respects their talent and understands their brand. What this means for major sports leagues remains to be seen, but you can bet that the landscape of pro sports and what it means to be a pro athlete will be forever changed.

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    The Crowd Says (2)

    • December 14th 2017 @ 7:05am
      Not so super said | December 14th 2017 @ 7:05am | ! Report

      The 3 on 3 basketball league barely was a blip

    • December 14th 2017 @ 7:07am
      Not so super said | December 14th 2017 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      Could also be known as the age of the gullible fan

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