Athletes have millions of fans all over the world. They have busy schedules and lots of responsibilities and it they entrust their agents to help them navigate every move they make. From contract negotiations, lifestyle and most of all to create a legacy. I had the opportunity to speak with David Meltzer CEO of Sports 1 Marketing. Together with HOF Quarter Back Warren Moon they’ve helped many players to achieve success both on and off the field. Here’s what we spoke about:
Jay: You’ve worked with many HOF players like Steve Young, Jerry Rice and current NFL QB Russell Wilson. When you’re working with such great players, what type of goals are you looking to achieve? Is it all about contract negotiation?
David: Firstly, let me tell you, Jay, that players of that caliber are not just hall of fame players, they’re hall of fame people. They’re always looking to improve and the sky is the limit. We strive to give our players the ability to create a legacy. Something that will live on for many years – beyond the years they play on the field. Contract negations is certainly a big part of our businesses, but whether it’s a campaign with Troy Aikman, or a client in boxing or baseball, building a long lasting legacy is the objective.
Jay: What’s that like on your end helping players develop a game plan for their careers after sports?
David: Every player is different in their approach as well as what they look for after sports. Almost all the players we work with have a sincere desire to give back, and we work hard to find the right ways to help them do that. There are many players that have retired from sports who have seen their fortunes lost very quickly and many players have made it their responsibility to help younger players understand the need to prepare for their careers after sports as soon as they sign their first contract.
Danny Schayes from the Denver Nuggets is a great example of that. In his book titled ‘Fast Broke’ he talks about how he literally blew through hundreds of millions of dollars. Many young players can’t imagine that happening to them and they only realize when it’s too late, so having a player like Danny who writes from personal experience has been extremely impactful.
Jay: Today social media has such a wide reach and instant effect. How has that impacted today’s players?
David: That’s a great point Jay and the truth is today’s social media is really a double edge sword. On the one hand, players can interact with fans like never before, they can be seen around the world at all times and really create a brand for themselves. At the same time it creates a tremendous pressure of being constantly scrutinized and players can ruin their reputations that took years to build with just one ill-advised post.
Jay: Do you advise your clients to be very active on their social media campaigns?
David: We absolutely do! In fact we work with our clients to not only create a large followings on social media but to be able to actually monetize their network. For example, we provide our clients with a unique gifting program which attracts fans to interact with them and by doing so we can gather data which includes their fans demographics, email addresses and most importantly what they’re interested in. Once you have a data base with millions of users all providing direct information like that it’s a marketing funnel that has tremendous value.
Jay: There are more and more players today becoming involved in business pursuits post their careers as well as many who get involved during their careers. Are there specific skills that a professional athlete has which gives them an edge in business?
David: Absolutely! In my opinion there are three main traits that players have which come because of the level at which they play at. They are: 1- Discipline. 2-Strategy and 3- Awareness. In fact there are many companies who make their hiring decisions based more on characteristics than based on a specific degree. In many cases they’d prefer a B student who was a former athlete and has a tremendous work ethic than an A student but who will not work as hard. Many of the intangible skills that are essential for success come natural to players because of their years of hard work. Warren Moon who is my partner at Sports 1 Marketing is so good at what he does because of the close to 40 years he’s been involved in sports. In my opinion, athletes have unique skills which when honed properly can bring them tremendous success well after their careers on the field!
David is currently the Chief Executive Office at Sports 1 Marketing, a firm he co-founded with Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon. David oversees all day-to-day operations at the firm, where his relationship capital and situational knowledge is crucial in delivering his client’s marketing and endorsement potential enabling him to secure diverse business opportunities for all his clients and partners. His mission to, “make a lot of money, help a lot of people, and have a lot of fun” is implemented into each of the firm’s business services, which include, endorsement deals, sponsorship and gifting, business consulting, corporate equity ownership, transitional services, brand endorsements and licensing athletes and celebrity alignment, among others.