Fantasy sports is a huge business. It allows the Everyday Joe a chance to draft a team, trade players, add free agents to their roster and root for touchdowns and homeruns from guys you would otherwise not care about. And now, not only can that same Everyday Joe pretend to play professional coach and general manager but as of today they can also actually own stock in a megastar football player.
According to ESPN.com, Fantex Brokerage Services will give the general public a chance for investors to buy and sell shares in Houston Texans running back Arian Foster.
This is how it works. Let's say Foster picks up his game, goes on a tear the rest of the season and scores 15 touchdowns. His stock price could potentially (and most likely) go up because more companies will offer Foster endorsement deals. Fantex has paid Foster $10 million. In return for that $10 million, Foster essentially has given up 20% of any possible future income that he earns. This income includes everything: the $20.7 million left on his current contract, a new contract that he may sign in the future, all endorsements and any other business wheelings and dealings that he may become involved in.
Fantex hopes that in the near future, other athletes will offer the public the same opportunity as the All-Pro running back. The CEO of Fantex, Buck French, had this to say about the relationship between the market and an athlete's brand, "Fantex is bringing sports and business together in a way never previously thought possible. By building a marketplace that allows customers to buy shares in a tracking stock linked to the value and performance of an athlete's brand, Fantex is enabling a new level of brand advocacy through ownership."
In an interview with Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com, Foster said, "I think branding is an important part of every athlete, of every human being." Foster also stated that he wants to endorse companies that produce a positive impact, like his pairing with Health Warrior who make a healthy protein bar called Chia Bar. "I feel like things like childhood obesity is something that can be prevented. If you look at things that athletes endorse, it’s all junk food. We have a part in bettering our circumstances."
Interested? If you're at least 18 years old, you can buy Foster stock today, although you should note a couple things. Foremost, Foster isn't having a great season and neither is his team the Texans. Foster has only scored one touchdown so far and he's been dealing with a deluge of nagging injuries. The Texans are currently 2 - 4. However, Foster is good looking, young and has an easy-to-like personality which makes him an endorsement sweetheart.
Still not convinced, check out the video Fantex produced to help sell Foster. Just click the "watch on Vimeo" bar.
Tell us what you think in the space below. Is this the future? Will other all-star professional athletes offer the public the opportunity to buy and sell shares on their earnings? Or, will athletes shy away from the thought of being "owned" by the public?
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