Tom Brady's Next Billion-Dollar Brand

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Hey Friends,

There might not be a single athlete in the history of professional sports that monetized their name, image, and likeness better than Michael Jordan.

His deal with Nike to create the Jordan Brand brings in nearly $5 billion in annual revenue today, up 31% year-over-year. The crazy part — the deal pays Michael Jordan roughly $150 million in annual royalties, significantly more than the $90 million he made during his entire NBA career.

So, why is this important? Because Michael Jordan might be the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) on the basketball court, but Tom Brady is quietly deploying a plan to replicate his success once he leaves the football field.

“I feel like I’m living two lives: my football life and then my post-football life,” Brady told the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay Tuesday.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal yesterday, Tom Brady announced one of the projects he intends to carry into his post-football life: a “next-generation apparel collection” named, of course, Brady.

Set to drop in December after three years of development, Tom Brady says the Brady brand will be similar to the Jordan brand, envisioning a high-end clothing label that includes men’s training and activewear.

This announcement was interesting to me for a few reasons. First, Tom Brady is getting super aggressive on the business front while still competing at an extremely high level on the football field.

He has 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 stakes.

But more recently, he has launched a bunch of other businesses, including an NFT platform (Autograph), a production company (199 Productions), and a clothing brand (Brady). That doesn’t even include his existing performance lifestyle brand TB12.

I mean, the guy won a Super Bowl last year and has launched three businesses that legitimately have the chance to be worth 9-figures each. That’s not normal, even for someone who is considered the greatest of all time.

Secondly, the team Tom Brady has assembled to launch the Brady brand is super impressive. In addition to former DKNY designer Dao-Yi Chow, Jens Grede is also a co-founder of the brand. For those who aren’t aware, Grede is Kim Kardashian’s business partner and the mastermind behind her $1.6 billion Skims brand.

I talk about this all the time, but that’s precisely the approach athletes should be taking.

Tom Brady has a massive advantage when it comes to premium IP and content distribution, so he dug into the analytics, figured out what product his audience was most likely interested in buying, and partnered with someone who has deep-rooted connections and experience scaling a personality-based clothing brand from $0 to $1.6 billion in value.

It’s currently unclear if the company is venture-backed, or maybe Tom Brady ended up putting up significant capital himself. Still, by partnering with someone like Jens Grede, Tom Brady is able to fundamentally shift the risk-reward profile to create asymmetric equity upside for himself.

Sure, not every athlete can do this. Tom Brady has more of an advantage than others. He has a massive audience, brand, and the ability to take risks. Still, the mindset to aggressively build companies while competing for championships is super impressive.

My guess is that this will end up being a massive company. On that front, only time will tell — but I’ll be watching. I hope you all have a great day. I’ll talk to everyone tomorrow.

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Huddle Up is a daily newsletter that breaks down the business and money behind sports.

If you would like to join more than 47,000 other professional athletes, business executives, and casual sports fans that receive it directly in their inbox each morning, subscribe now.


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