10 Sports-Stars Turned Successful Entrepreneurs
Sports-stars are not often associated with businesses. In fact, mention an athlete and businesses will be the last thing most people will think of. Most sports-stars are always seen as naïve in the way they deal with their finances. Ideally most athletes are expected to train hard and perform even better when on the fields, courts or rings. If they are in team sports, they are expected to blend in with their teammates for the success of the team.
Entrepreneurship on the other hand is where one is expected to find a market gap, fill it and in the process, make profits. Entrepreneurs come up with unique styles that tend to improve the efficiency of a business. This way they are able to craft their own businesses and make good profits.
Since most athletes are paid handsomely, most of them rarely venture into businesses. But there are some stars who have become successful business men and women.
Here we run a list of 10 sport-stars who have turned to be successful entrepreneurs;
First off is none other than the former England soccer captain, David Beckham. He has always shown his intelligence both on and off the field. Not only did Beckham make top dollar while playing but he is also a successful business man. Here is his story;
Beckham started his career at Manchester United where he came through the youth ranks to make his debut back in the year 1992. He would go on to have a successful spell at United where he won a total of 6 league titles, 2 FA cups and the UEFA Champions leagues trophy.
He later switched sides to Real Madrid in 2003 where he played for 4 successive seasons winning the La Liga title in 2007. From there Beckham signed for LA Galaxy in the Major League Soccer on a 5-year contract. While still in the Galaxy team, he had a brief loan spell at Milan in Italy.
On the international scene, he first featured for England soccer team, also known as, the 3 Lions in 1996 where he was capped 58 times. He also captained the team for 6 years. Paris Saint Germain in France is the last team he featured for bringing a close to a decorated career which saw him win league titles in 4 different countries.
David the Businessman
The decorated football is also successful off the pitch where he has had successful ventures. Upon retirement he scoped a hoping $42 million from endorsement. He has also supported some charitable events and the most notable one being the UNICEF goodwill ambassador. He is also a proud owner of the MLS franchise, the new Orlando City.
Next up on our list is none other than the tennis super star, Maria Sharapova. Born Maria Yuryevna Sharapova, she grabbed the world’s attention when she won a title at just 17 years.
The following year, aged 18, she moved top of women tennis rankings a fete she repeated four other times. She became the first Russian to win the Wimbledon women Championship.
Sharapova also became the first Russian to ascend to the summit of women’s rankings. She has won many titles from the US open to the Australian open to French open. She also came close to winning an Olympic gold medal losing to Serena Williams in the finals.
Sharapova the Entrepreneur
When she is not in the court playing, Sharapova has been busy building her enterprises. She has had several major endorsements in her career. The most notable ones being TAG Heuer, Nike, Evian, Avon among other major companies.
She has been earning so much that has been named the highest paid sports woman on several occasions. In 2012, she started her own candy line which she named Sugarpova.
She co-founded it with the IT’SUGAR founder, Jeff Rubin. She said that her motivation to start her candy line was her father who used to give her sweet or chocolate after practice.
Oscar De La Hoya
Oscar is probably one of the few boxers to do well both on the ring and off it. Born on 4th February 1973, Oscar is dual citizen of US and Mexico. He made headlines when he won the 1989 Golden Gloves in the bantamweight category. That was just the start of a very long and successive career.
The following year, 1990, Oscar made history by winning the gold medal at the Goodwill Games aged just 17 years. He was the youngest ever player to achieve such fete. The same year, he won the United States National Championship featherweight category. It was also in that same year that his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and died that October.
Her dying wish was that her son would one day win an Olympic gold medal. Buoyed by that, De La Hoya trained hard and achieved his mother’s wishes at the 1992 Olympic games held in Barcelona. The media was so impressed by this and dubbed him the ‘Golden Boy’ which stuck throughout his boxing career. He would go on to win many other fights before retiring in April 2009.
His Business Ventures
Apart from being a boxer, Oscar De La Hoya was also a promoter and has a promotion company dubbed Golden Boy Promotions. The promotion company not only focuses on fight promotions but it also ventures in real estate and other projects in the Hispanic community taking advantage of De La Hoya’s popularity there.
The company has acquired several enterprises throughout the years with the most notable ones being; World Boxing Magazine and The Ring KO Magazine. On top of that, the Golden Boy Promotions company also bought 25% stake of Houston Dynamo, which plays in the Major League Soccer.
Another sports-start to be successive both on and off the court is Lebron James. This NBA super star is probably one of the best players in our generation. Currently playing for Cleveland Cavaliers, James has won so much in his career that we all can’t help but admire.
Just get this, he has won 3 National Basketball Association Championships, 4 MVP awards, 2 Olympic Gold medals, 3 NBA Final MVPs, NBA young player of the year award among others.
Recently he became the youngest ever player to score 30,000 points. To top it up, he is scoring leader at the NBA career playoff, the scoring leader at the All-Star game and also at the Cleveland Cavaliers team.
James the Businessman
James has been on top of his game both on and off the court. This was evident when he dictated terms during the transfer from Cavaliers to Heats and back to Cavaliers. He also created some sort of bidding war for his endorsement between Reebok, Nike and Adidas.
He is also a proud owner of the marketing firm called LRMR. It is true to say James is a beast both on the court and on his businesses.
Next up on our list is another American Super Star, Venus Williams. The tennis super star is the sister to another tennis star, Serena Williams. Serena, the younger of the two sisters, is probably the most successive in the court while her older sister is more successive in business ventures.
It is said that while Serena is busy winning grand slams and making a name for herself in the court, Venus is busy making top dollar in her business empire. Venus ventures into so many businesses and it is no surprise that her net worth is over $75 million.
She ventures in EleVen, a clothing line, V Starr Interiors, an interior design company and she is also the owner of Jamba Juice. In addition, she also has claims in the Miami Dolphins and she still finds time to play tennis.
Staubach’s incredible journey saw him enjoy a successive football career before venturing into real estate business. His decision to become a broker back in the 1970s is one that he can look back and be proud of.
Back then, he decided to be a broker so as to support his family just in case his football career went sideways. Staubach started his career in the navy before retiring and joining the Cowboys in the NFL.
He would go on to play for 11 seasons during which he had a winning percentage of 0.750. He was famous in his playing time that he was nicknamed “Roger the Dodger”. Upon retirement in March 1980, Staubach turned his focus to his real estate company, the Staubach Company.
By 2008, he had over 50 outlets scattered across North America and employed over 1000 people.
Arguably the greatest NBA player of all time, Michael Jordan has achieved so much on and off the court. Jordan was so good that during his first-year rookie season, he was on the cover page of the Sports Illustrated magazine which had a heading that read, ‘A Star is Born’.
He was loved by the fans from the word go and it is no surprise that he was voted in the All-star team that season. He played for the Bulls between 1984 and 1993 before retiring and playing baseball.
He would later rejoin the team and feature for them from 1995-1998. He also featured for the Wizards from 2001-2003. Jordan was considered to be an instrumental figure in marketing NBA around the world.
Off the court, Jordan has also been successive in business ventures. His shoe line, Air Jordan, is estimated to earn him $100 million per year. That’s not all, his sponsorship deal with Nike is estimated to have earned him $90 million. Add this to the fact that he is the owner of NBA side, Charlotte Hornets, you will see why Forbes have placed him at position 513 in the Richest Person in US list.
John Elway is a Hall of Famer who won the Super Bowl playing as a quarterback for the Broncos. He loved Denver so much so that he started several business ventures in the area.
He ran two steakhouses as well as making products for the Bassett Furniture. John Elway also created the Elway foundation to help shade some light on child abuse as well as combating it. His encounters with the Broncos did not end in his playing days, as he became their Executive VP in charge of football operations.
Elway has also ventured in other areas with the most notable one being the co-ownership of the Arena Football League side, Colorado Crush.
Wayne Gretzky is probably the greatest player to ever grace the hockey field. The Canadian started his career in the year 1978 and went on to play for 4 different teams across 20 NHL seasons.
He is the NHL leading goal scorer with 894 goals. His wonder skills and an eye for goals saw him get a lot of endorsement deals with Domino’s Pizza and Coca-Cola leading the way. He also earned top dollar when he started Gretzky NHL, a video game on EA Sports.
On the business perspective, he has also had several successive moves. He has stakes in Vintage Honus Wagner cigarette and he is also the Executive officer of Hespeler Hockey co. To top it up, he also runs the restaurant in Toronto.
Tony Hawk has always been associated with skateboarding. He is nicknamed “birdman” and it is no surprise that that’s the name he choose for his skateboard company. He rose to stardom and at some point, in 2009, he was raking in $12 million making him the top-paid action paid athlete.
He has been so influential that he was named the most influential skateboarder of all time. He came up with a move dubbed “900” which involves completing 2 and a half mid-air spins.
Hawk has been successive when it comes to business ventures creating a series of video games, skateboarding tours as well as amusement park rides.
Those are some of the top sports-stars who have found success both in sports and business.