Tom Brady Is Quietly Building A Billion-Dollar Company
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Despite data indicating that NFL teams have less than a 1% chance of finding a consistent starting quarterback in the 6th round of the NFL draft or later, Tom Brady has become one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
2000 NFL Draft Quarterbacks
Chad Pennington (1st Round)
Giovanni Carmazzi (3rd Round)
Chris Redman (3rd Round)
Tee Martin (6th Round)
Marc Bulger (6th Round)
Spergon Wynn (6th Round)
Tom Brady (6th Round)
As the 199th player taken in the 2000 NFL draft, Tom Brady is a 7x Super Bowl champion, a 5x Super Bowl MVP, and a 3x NFL Most Valuable Player. Even better, with over $263 million in career earnings, he has made more money (salary-wise) than any other NFL player in history.
The part you didn’t know: Despite all that success on the field, he’s quietly implementing a plan to replicate it off the field.
Given that the NFL has a salary cap limit in place, Tom Brady's narrative has always been that he was able to maximize the talent around him by taking less money in annual pay. Why? Because he’s married to Gisele Bundchen, a Brazilian supermodel with a net worth of more than $500 million.
"I think the thing I've always felt for me in my life, winning has been a priority. And my wife [model Gisele Bundchen] makes a lot of money."
While that’s true, it’s also complicated. Estimates suggest Brady sacrificed about $60 million in salary throughout his time with the New England Patriots (2000-2019), winning 6 Super Bowl titles in return.
Still, he’s set to end his career as the highest-earning NFL player in history ($260M+) and now makes more than $25 million annually with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But outside of his responsibilities as an NFL quarterback, Tom Brady also appears to be implementing a post-retirement business plan that will replicate his on-the-field success.
There are lucrative sponsorship deals — Under Armour, Molecule Mattresses, Upper Deck, Fanatics, IWC Watches, Christopher Cloos, crypto exchange FTX — that pay millions of dollars annually & often include small equity ownership. Still, as everyone knows, Brady’s big win will come from businesses he starts, funds, builds and maintains a large equity ownership stake in.
For example, Brady and his “body coach” Alex Guerrero founded TB12 in 2013, a performance lifestyle brand with one simple mission: to help you do what you love better and longer through performance, recovery, hydration, and nutrition.
After years of dabbling in physical locations, the brand pivoted to an ecommerce based strategy last year. The results were fantastic. Not only did online sales increase 200% year-over-year, expanding into new markets in the United Kingdom, Middle East, and Asia, but the companies staff also increased from 20 employees to 60.
Brady also owns 199 Productions, a documentary, film, and television programming business named after his NFL Draft position, which was 199th overall.
The interesting part: Despite almost a decade headstart, TB12 probably won’t end up being Tom Brady’s first billion-dollar business. How so? Because, after months of speculation, the seven-time Super Bowl champion announced the launch of his NFT (non-fungible token) platform “Autograph” in April.
I know, I know, NFT’s are dead. Except Brady and his cofounder & CEO Dillon Rosenblatt did something unique. Rather than just focusing on his own individual IP, Brady signed exclusive NFT deals with some of the most prominent names in the sports world, including Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Derek Jeter, Naomi Osaka, and Tony Hawk.
"Autograph will bring together some of the world's most iconic names and brands with best in class digital artists to ideate, create and launch NFTs and ground-breaking experiences to a community of fans and collectors,” Dillon Rosenblatt, co-founder & CEO of Autograph, told CNN in April.
Even better, despite NFT trading volume falling off a cliff the last few months, sports betting behemoth DraftKings recently announced an exclusive NFT distributor partnership with Autograph.
Here’s how it’ll work: Autograph will exist as an NFT marketplace in parallel with DraftKings’ sports betting & fantasy offering, with users able to buy and sell NFTs with funds in their existing accounts.
The company has also assembled a high-profile advisory team including:
Eddy Cue (Apple SVP)
Jon Feltheimer (Lionsgate CEO)
Michael Rapino (Live Nation Entertainment CEO)
Jason Robins & Paul Liberman (DraftKings cofounders)
Dawn Ostroff (Chief content & advertising business Officer at Spotify)
The plan is to expand beyond the traditional NFT market with a mix of live NFT auctions, physical product drops, and in-person experiences.
To be fair, this venture could fail just like 90% of startups do in a typical year. NFTs are a new(er) category, and sustained, long-term consumer demand hasn’t necessarily been proven yet.
But Tom Brady has drastically increased his odds of success by partnering with the right individuals, acquiring premium IP assets, and hacking distribution through one of the largest sports marketing players in the world.
We’ll see how it plays out, but if NFTs eventually becomes the multi-billion-dollar market that some experts suggest, don’t be surprised if Brady ends up making more money from Autograph than his entire NFL career.
Have a great day, and I’ll talk to everyone tomorrow.
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