Athlete-Led Startup Targets Financial Literacy

    • The Players Company, founded by former and current NFL players, seeks to address the issue of athlete financial instability.
    • The company's advisors include Mav Carter, Bob Iger, and Bleacher Report founder Dave Finnocchio.

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The eye-popping salaries make headlines, but behind the scenes, many athletes struggle to manage their finances. An athlete-led startup is looking to change that.

“What really motivated us was seeing athletes struggling financially,” The Players Company cofounder Amir Carlisle told FOS. “This is a problem that has persisted for decades.”

Carlisle, a former receiver with the Arizona Cardinals, started the company with cornerback Richard Sherman and Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Day. LeBron James’ business partner Mav Carter, Disney executive chairman Bob Iger, and Bleacher Report founder Dave Finocchio serve as advisors.

The Players Company connects athletes to financial advisors and investment opportunities. The company currently partners with:

  • Accel Partners
  • Sequoia
  • GC
  • Lightspeed
  • TRG
  • The Admiral Capital Group

Its membership of roughly 200 athletes is currently around 85% NFL players, but it’s looking to get into a cycle of recruitment during each league’s offseason.

“Especially in the NFL, you have many athletes coming from low-income environments, potentially living check-to-check,” Carlisle explained. “You don’t have the base financial knowledge to handle $100, let alone $1.5 million.”

He also noted the issue of player churn: The average NFL career lasts 2.5 years, after which many players are cast into the wider economy with little work experience outside athletics.

The startup is in the midst of a $3 million fundraise, primarily from athletes.