Start ‘Em Up: NFLPA Launches Business Accelerator

On December 6, 2016, the National Football League Players Association launched the OneTeam Collective, a business incubator that will help drive innovative sports-related companies’ growth. This effort was initiated alongside six other founding partners: Harvard Innovation Lab, Intel, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, LeadDog Marketing Group, Madrona Venture Group, and the Sports Innovation Lab.

OneTeam will acquire equity stakes in new sports-related startups in exchange for the licensing and content rights of NFL players. Generally, companies like Nike or EA Sports must shell out a hefty fee in order to use a player’s name, essentially prohibiting smaller startups with limited funds from acquiring these rights. With OneTeam, these smaller companies will now have access to these NFL players that they likely never dreamed of receiving.

According to Ahmad Nassar, the organization’s board chairman and the president of NFL Players, Inc., the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFLPA, the NFLPA looked at similar programs around the sports industry in its effort to create this new endeavor. Per Nassar, they “want to build a thriving ecosystem.” This includes the implementation of an Athlete Advisory Board that will provide input on both accepted companies and new prospects. The inaugural members of this Board include Kelvin Beachum, Mark Herzlich, Dhani Jones, Isaiah Kacyvenski, Ryan Nece, and Russell Okung.

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