Tonight, Florida State’s QB Jameis Winston, or “Famous Jameis,” is expected to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy as he is the overwhelming favorite among the six Heisman finalists, a list that includes last year’s Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. Even as a proud Florida Gators fan, I must say that Winston is an incredible talent that oozes confidence on the field.
Let’s take a look at how Winston stacks up against the last two Heisman winners. As you can see below, Winston certainly has the stats to win college football’s most prestigious award for a player.
Source: ESPN SportsCenter
If you want to take a closer look at all of the finalists’ credentials, check out this post from USA Today.
I guess nothing is out of the question when it comes to creative finance, like investing in shares of your favorite athletes. That’s right — you can buy and trade shares of professional athletes!
Fantex Holdings is launching a new platform that seeks to offer up shares in pro athletes as equities for trading. According to Fantex, the idea of investing in athletes is a natural progression from fantasy football, an industry that had more than $1 billion in revenue in 2012. (And experts say there’s nothing illegal about the idea.)
Here’s how the system would work:
Under Fantex’s plans — detailed in an S-1 prospectus filed with the SEC on October 17, the company would issue “tracking stocks” for each athlete in its stable; each stock would launch via its own initial public offering. Investors buy shares on a closed exchange only at fantex.com with each worth a stake in the athlete’s gross “brand income” in perpetuity — that includes team contracts, money from endorsements during and after the pro career, coaching revenue — anything related to his or her brand as an athlete.
So can Fantex actually get star athletes to get on board? Apparently, the answer is “yes.”
Fantex announced . . . that its debut “stock” would be Arian Foster, the Houston Texans running back. Much of the initial press doubted any other athlete would be convinced to follow. But today came news that a second football player has signed on: Vernon Davis, the San Francisco 49ers tight end. The Foster IPO will offer 1.06 million shares at $10 per share. If it is successful, Foster will get $10 million from Fantex, which in turn will get 20% of his future earnings. (The shares that investors get will “track” the fortunes of Foster and fluctuate along with the value of his brand; Fantex says shareholders will get dividends but cautions in its risk summary that shareholders do not actually own any part of his brand.) Davis, meanwhile, took a smaller deal: He’ll get $4 million from Fantex in exchange for 10% of his future earnings. Foster goes public first; Fantex will begin taking reservations for his IPO next week.
While investing in star athletes’ future earnings may sound enticing, there are undoubtedly high risks involved with such investments. The biggest risk factor relates to whether a star athlete can remain healthy and perform at a high level. For example, three days after Fantex announced its launch, Arian Foster left an Oct. 20 game against the Kansas City Chiefs with a hamstring injury. Interestingly, Fantex’s S-1 notes that if a player is injured, Fantex can convert your stock to another player’s, but there is no guarantee it will be worth anything.
As of now, securities tracking players’ earnings can only be bought and traded on fantex.com, not through other well-known brokerage firms like E*Trade or TD Ameritrade.
“In a crisis, don’t hide behind anything or anybody. They are going to find you anyway.”
— Bear Bryant, legendary college football coach
Here’s a clip that all sports fans will enjoy:
Mariano Rivera, MLB’s all-time leader in both regular and postseason season saves, is met by long-time teammates and friends, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter, on the pitcher’s mound before walking off the field one last time to a standing ovation.
To the best closer and one of the most iconic pitchers in baseball history, I say thank you for your greatness on and off the field. Congratulations Mo on a legendary career!
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is following the example set by rapper Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent, by grabbing an equity deal with his new sponsor, Bodyarmor. Other notable Bodyarmor endorser-investors include fellow NFL players Rob Gronkowski, Ray Rice, Jason Pierre-Paul, and LeSean McCoy, as well as Major League Baseball’s Mike Trout and Buster Posey.
While there appears to be a growing number of professional athletes inking equity deals with their sponsors, 50 Cent is largely credited as being the one who set the trend. 50 Cent reportedly made around $60 million from his 2004 investment deal with Glaceau Vitaminwater when Coca-Cola (KO) bought the brand for $4.1 billion in 2007.
However, not all equity deals end with double or triple digit returns. In particular, Businessweek notes that:
For every Vitaminwater story, however, there are dozens and dozens of busts. “Ninety percent of the stories turn out to be huge losses,” says Steve Piascik, founder of the accounting firm Piascik, which specializes in advising athletes. Still, when the equity is in lieu of payment, athletes are essentially playing with house money.
As for Andrew Luck, the quarterback says his risk from the Bodyarmor deal is minimal. “There’s always a risk in any equity,” he says. “That comes with any partnership.”
According to NFL.com, the NFL has reached a “tentative $765 million settlement over concussion-related brain injuries among its 18,000 retired players, agreeing to compensate victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research.“
Class settlement: The settlement will include all players who have retired as of the date on which the Court grants preliminary approval to the settlement agreement, their authorized representatives, or family members (in the case of a former player who is decease.
No Admissions of Liability or Weakness of Claims: The settlement does not represent, and cannot be considered, an admission by the NFL of liability, or an admission that plaintiffs’ injuries were caused by football. Nor is it an acknowledgement by the plaintiffs of any deficiency in their case. Instead, it represents a decision by both sides to compromise their claims and defenses, and to devote their resources to benefit retired players and their families, rather than litigate these cases.
Payments: The NFL and NFL Properties will make payments in connection with the settlement as follows:
(A) Baseline medical exams, the cost of which will be capped at $75 million;
(B) A separate fund of $675 million to compensate former players who have suffered cognitive injury or their families;
(C) A separate research and education fund of $10 million;
(D) The costs of notice to the members of the class, which will not exceed $4 million;
(E) $2 million, representing one half of the compensation of the Settle ment Administrator for a period of 20 years; and
(F) Legal fees and litigation expenses to the plaintiffs’ counsel, which amounts will be set by the District Court
Timing of Payments: If the settlement receives final approval, and any appeals have been concluded, the NFL will pay approximately 50 percent of the settlement amount over three years, and the balance over the next 17 years.
Injury Compensation Fund: The fund of at least $675 million will be available to pay monetary awards to retired players who present medical evidence of severe cognitive impairment, dementia, Alzheimer’s, ALS, or to their families. The precise amount of compensation will be based upon the specific diagnosis, as well as other factors including age, number of seasons played in the NFL, and other relevant medical conditions. These determinations will be made by independent doctors working with settlement administrators appointed by the District Court.
So who got the better end of the deal? The settlement appears to make only a slight dent on the NFL’s ability to reap enormous profits from America’s most popular sport. On the other hand, former players will be able to start receiving payments sooner rather than later.
See also: Judge Anita Brody’s order
The big news, though, going into college football’s opening weekend is the announcement that Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel of #7 Texas A&M has been suspended for the first half of Saturday’s season opener against the Rice Owls. According to a joint statement released by Texas A&M and the NCAA, there was no evidence that Manziel received payment for signing autographs.
Here are some further details about Manziel’s suspension from ESPN:
The NCAA and A&M agreed on the one-half suspension because Manziel violated NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199, an NCAA representative confirmed. The rule says student-athletes cannot permit their names or likenesses to be used for commercial purposes, including to advertise, recommend or promote sales of commercial products, or accept payment for the use of their names or likenesses.
The half-game suspension for Manziel appears odd for a number of reasons, namely because (1) there is no evidence of payment yet a penalty is still being levied and (2) assuming you believe that Manziel likely received payment for autographs, Dez Bryant and Terrel Pryor received much harsher penalties (10 games for Bryant and 5 games for Pryor) for violations that were worth far less than those alleged against Manziel.
While it appears that Johnny Football came out on top so far, he may not be out of the woods just yet. In its joint statement, the NCAA stated that “[i]f additional information comes to light, the NCAA will review and consider if further action is appropriate.”
I would be lying, though, if I didn’t admit that I want to see Manziel play. The kid is a stud on the field and I’m ready to see if he can match or exceed his Heisman-caliber play from last year.