On December 29, 2022, the Brazilian soccer star Pelé passed away.
Born into barefoot poverty, he grew to become one of the greatest athletes in modern history. He won the World Cup a record three times, and is known as soccer’s first superstar.
And when he died, he left a fortune worth an estimated $100 million.
Most of us would consider accumulating a fortune like that unfathomable. But some of today’s top athletes earn that much every year.
For example, the NBA’s Steph Curry will earn $45 million this year; the NFL’s Aaron Rodgers will earn $57 million; and boxer Canelo Alvarez will rake in $85 million.
And that’s just from their salaries. When you add in their sponsorship earnings, those numbers get even bigger. LeBron James, for instance, earns a $41 million salary, but makes twice that much — a whopping $82 million — from his sponsorships.
Why am I bringing this topic up today? Simple. Because recently, a handful of little-known opportunities have emerged for investors like us to share in these massive paydays.
And today, I’ll tell you about not just one of them, but five of them.
An Alternative to Stocks and Bonds
As I’ve explained in recent months (for example, here and here), the rich invest differently.
They don’t have typical 60/40 portfolios. And this difference might explain why they keep getting richer.
You see, according to the Motley Fool, the rich mainly invest in “alternative assets.”
These alternatives include private startups and private real estate deals — the kind we focus on here at Crowdability.
But they also include fine art, fine wine, vintage sports cars — and now, athletes…
Investing in Athletes
Recently, a handful of online businesses have emerged that enable investors like us to invest in some of the world’s most promising athletes. Minimums can be as low as $50 or so.
And today, I’d like to share five of them with you:
- Mojo — Mojo is essentially a stock exchange for athletes. It was founded by Marc Lore (the founder of Jet and Quidsi) and the legendary Alex Rodriguez.
On Mojo, the stock price of about 400 NFL and college football players goes up or down based on their on-field performance. Hold stock in “your” player all the way through their career, and you’ll get a payout based on their stock price when they retire. The company soon has plans to expand beyond football, so stay tuned.
- The next one is Finlete.com.
On this soon-to-be-launched platform that’s backed by Comcast-NBC, you can invest in promising young athletes — and hit a financial homerun if they’re successful.
Finlete aims to discover stars before they get big. When it finds one, it offers them a big lump-sum (say, $1 million) in exchange for a percentage of their future contract. For example, let’s say you invest in an up-and-coming baseball player. If he signs an average three-year MLB contract, a $100 investment would turn into about $270 — good for a 270% return. Sign up now so you’ll be notified when the site launches.
- Then there’s Globatalent.
On this platform, you can invest in promising young athletes from the worlds of tennis, Formula 1, even esports. Since shares in these athletes trade on an exchange, you can decide whether to hold onto them for their entire career — or just aim to profit when they have a great game and their value shoots up.
- For tennis fans, there’s Fantium.
Fantium is a blockchain-based platform that enables pro tennis players to sell a percentage of their future earnings up front. As an investor, you can “buy and hold” your shares (thus participating in the player’s wins in real-time), or you can aim to trade your shares on a secondary market.
- And lastly, there’s a way to get access to high-potential athletes at the start of their careers — without doing all the scouting and legwork yourself…
Chisos is similar to a venture capital fund. But instead of investing in early-stage startups, it invests directly in high-potential people.
It already has two funds. But now it’s launching a third one just for athletes. It will focus on all sports, from NFL and NBA to volleyball. And to identify the highest-potential athletes, it will work with top agents and scouts.
It’s already invested in a left-handed minor-league pitcher in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. This pitcher will be the first athlete to go into Fund III.
Essentially, after one of the fund’s athletes crosses a certain salary threshold, the fund will receive a percentage of their income — and then provide a quarterly check to the fund’s investors.
Keep in mind, all the typical caveats about investing apply here:
For example, don’t invest more than you can afford to lose; invest in the athletes playing the sports you know best; and be sure to dip your toe into the water before diving in.
Furthermore, many of these investments aren’t “liquid.”That means they can’t necessarily be converted into cash at the snap of your fingers.
So don’t invest your rent or grocery money into these offerings.
But if you’re looking to invest like the rich, athletes might be a great place to start!