Stay on top of hot topics and latest trends in Sports Tech with Ric Serritella of the NFL Draft Bible…

We’ve all heard the term “locker room talk,” but what exactly do players discuss amongst themselves when hanging in the locker room? One topic that has become prominent amongst players is entrepreneurship.

When a player is chosen in the NFL Draft, not only is he rewarded with a lucrative professional contract, but he’s also suddenly inundated with an abundance of business opportunities; the same is true when he signs a mega-dollars deal in free agency. A smart investment can reap a handsome return on investment (ROI), but a poor business decision could be costly and, as we’ve seen far too often, can even bankrupt athletes.

Several weeks ago, we highlighted some of the premier sports tech events occurring this summer, including the 49ers/SportTechie NEXT at Levi’s Stadium earlier this month. The event highlighted several interesting topics, including the attitude a player has towards his involvement with a product. Athletes no longer just want to slap their names on items. Instead, they want to be influencers, want to be part of the ‘creative’ process, want to have a say in how the message is delivered, and/or want to be rewarded with a piece of ownership.

Much of the locker room chatter these days revolves around what to invest in, how the process of investing works, and who to trust. So what are some of the hot topic industries that have players’ buzzing? One popular topic is CBD products such as water and supplements. Others are curious to see how the legalized sports gambling landscape shakes out, while some have invested in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

Having stock in some of these businesses could be risky and deemed controversial by ‘The Shield.’ Hence, players must be well-informed and educated in order to make the right decisions. With so much new technology emerging, it can be difficult to decipher the difference between the next big, lucrative opportunity or an overhyped, new technology that fails to deliver.

Casey Schwab knows a little about that topic. The 49ers/SportTechie NEXT event featured Schwab, who serves as Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at NFL Players Inc., among its panelists. Schwab told a story of the time when the licensing arm of the NFLPA was offered a business proposition: forego its traditional player licensing fees in exchange for capital in Bitstrips, the parent company of the Bitmoji app. The NFLPA declined and, two years later, in March of 2016, Bitstrips was acquired by Snap for $115 million.

Some of the most successful athletes (Derek Jeter, LeBron James, etc.) made or make more money from their business ventures than from the teams that employ them. They have provided a model for what every pro player should aspire to be.

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