Best Sports Business Athlete: Tom Brady
When Tom Brady signed a two-year, $ 50 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March 2020, it sparked a sea change in the world of football and sports. Fans piled on ticket waiting lists, merchandise flew off shelves, and bookies furiously reset Super Bowl odds.
It seemed impossible that Brady could ever live up to the fanfare surrounding his arrival in Florida after a legendary two-decade run in New England. But the GOAT quarterback has gotten into the habit of disappointing his skeptics, and in 2021 he’s done it again. Not only did he solidify his status as the greatest player in NFL history by leading the Buccaneers to their second Super Bowl title in franchise history – in their stadium and against heir apparent to the throne Patrick Mahomes. of the Kansas City Chiefs, no less – he’s also built his business empire in a way that proves he’s just as unstoppable off the pitch as he is on it.
It’s that impact, more than his admittedly dominant performance on the field that makes Brady our pick as the Best Athlete of the Year in sports affairs.
In April, the NFL Players Association announced that Brady led the league in sales of licensed products for the 2020-21 season, his record for the fourth time. Brady also broke Fanatics’ record for single-season jersey sales and, following his Super Bowl victory, broke the e-commerce giant’s record for single-day memorabilia sales for an athlete in n any sport. Fanatics, which signed on as the exclusive distributor of Brady memorabilia late last year, has sold Buccaneers gear in more than 120 countries.
Brady also turned the Buccaneers into a ratings giant. Since the start of 2021, Brady has appeared on nine of the 31 most-watched TV shows in the United States, more than any other team and a number that could have made Walter Cronkite blush. The Buccaneers playoffs were three of the five most-watched televised events of the year, and Brady’s return to Week 4 in New England gave NBC a Sunday night football audience of 28 million, the second Most watched regular season game to date and # 10 audience rating for any TV show in 2021.
With Bucs fans allowed to return to Raymond James Stadium this season to watch their new captain, it was no surprise the team sold their season tickets in June after years of languishing near the bottom of the league table. NFL.
Ads served during a game Brady is playing generate 15% more viewer engagement compared to non-Brady games, according to TV ad data company EDO; by comparison, LeBron James has an impact of 12%, according to EDO data. According to Kevin Krim, president and CEO of EDO, Brady ranks among a select few athletes, like James and Serena Williams, when it comes to increasing an advertiser’s reach. “Not only are more people watching [games with Brady]but per person people are more involved in games and commercials, ”Krim said. “You also see that when Tom Brady is in advertising, those ads work really well. So there is a nested effect; he’s a star and that’s important.
Fantastic for fanatics
In October 2020, Fanatics signed on as the exclusive distributor of Tom Brady memorabilia and collectibles. The resulting impact on Fanatics’ business has been enormous:
■ Before winning Super Bowl LV, Brady was the Fanatics’ best-selling NFL player for the two weeks between Conference Championship Weekend and Super Bowl.
■ After Tampa Bay’s 31-9 win over Kansas City, Fanatics sold more Brady merchandise in three hours than it had ever had for any player within 24 hours of his Super Bowl victory.
■ The Buccaneers went from No.28 among NFL teams in terms of total merchandise sales to No.1 between 2019 and 2020. The 1,200% jump in sales was the biggest year-over-year increase in the year. ‘other for an NFL team.
■ To date, Brady has the Fanatics’ best-selling NFL jersey since the start of the current season. – CS
Brady is also a new media star: His 17 million social media followers are the second NFL player after Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and earlier this year the NFLPA and Opendorse , his social media activation partner, has ranked Brady as the NFL’s most influential player on social platforms.
This year, he graced the cover of “Madden NFL 22” alongside Mahomes, his second time in video games. Brady’s autographed rookie card sold for more than $ 3.1 million in June, marking the highest price ever paid for a football card sold at auction. In fact, copies of this 2000 Playoff Contenders card have set record auction prices three times this year.
Brady’s frequency of transactions and the humor he displays in his commercials, public appearances or on social media may surprise those who only knew him as the face of an effective if not particularly joyful operation in New England. But he also has his off-field representatives at WME to capitalize on his success in new ways. The results were staggering: In September, Forbes ranked Brady No.1 among all NFL players in off-court earnings for 2021 at $ 45 million, more than double that of Mahomes, the next most close.
At 44, Brady is still insanely good – he leads the NFL in attempted passes, completed passes, yards and touchdowns, and Tampa Bay has a huge lead in the NFC South. Yet even the ageless wonder can’t play forever – neither he nor his longtime agent Don Yee of the Yee & Dubin Sports agency have hinted at when his last game will be – and as Brady approaches. Of late in his career under center, he’s made moves off the field that should uplift his fame and bank account for years to come.
Earlier this year, for example, Brady co-founded the NFT Autograph platform, which sells digital collectibles featuring and “signed” by famous celebrities. Athletes on the platform include Brady, Simone Biles, Wayne Gretzky, Tony Hawk, Derek Jeter, Naomi Osaka and Tiger Woods. The company’s advisory board includes DraftKings founders, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, and Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter Guber.
Brady and his wife, model and philanthropist Gisele Bundchen, were also recently at the center of a high-profile advertising campaign for the FTX cryptocurrency exchange. As part of this deal, Brady is a brand ambassador and has taken an equity stake in the company. This is in addition to new endorsement deals with Hertz and Subway, the latter effectively playing on their well-known dietary restrictions.
Brady has added Hertz to his solid roster of endorsements.getty pictures
“Tom Brady 1.0 was all football, all the time. Tom Brady 2.0 has become football and family, ”said filmmaker Gotham Chopra, who co-founded production company Religion of Sports with Brady and former NFL star Michael Strahan. “And now Tom Brady 3.0 is like ‘Let’s start businesses!’ Although he is surrounded by really interesting and smart people, he will be the first to tell you that he is learning.
Among the Religion of Sports offerings, which launched in 2017 and last year raised $ 13 million in funding, is the ongoing series “Man in the Arena,” a 10-part Brady epic. for ESPN + which chronicles each of his Super Bowl appearances. Brady has previously appeared in the Facebook Watch series “Tom vs. Time ”by the company, which won the 2019 Sports Emmy for Best Serialized Documentary.
This is just one of the many initiatives that businessman Brady has launched in the sports and media landscape. His 199 productions are credited on “Man in the Arena” and, along with Turner Sports, produced both editions of this year’s celebrity golf series “The Match”. He launched and co-hosts a weekly SiriusXM podcast, “Let’s Go! With Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray. Brady’s fitness and nutrition company TB12 has physical locations across the country. And a new Brady clothing line co-founded and led by fashion mogul Jens Grede is set to debut in January and just signed 10 varsity athletes with NIL deals.
All the while, Brady continues to rewrite the NFL record book. Most affected ever? To verify. Most passing yards? To verify. Most completions ever? You got the idea.
Of course, there’s one record Brady is obsessed with adding: his own brand for most Super Bowl titles. Now it’s clear: When Tom Brady makes it his mission to do something, he usually succeeds.