Athletes Unlimited is the first and only professional sports league to be structured as a Public Benefit Corporation, the company announced Tuesday.
The innovative women’s sports league released its first PBC report — one of the requirements of the classification — detailing the work it has done to create a successful business, and to affect positive social change.
Athletes Unlimited currently runs four women’s leagues with a player-centric structure. During its inaugural five-week basketball season, athletes made an average of $20,000.
The designation doesn’t make Athletes Unlimited a nonprofit. It codifies the for-profit company’s duty not just to its shareholders, investors, and bottom line, but also other stakeholders and a mission related to social impact.
Athletes are one of the major stakeholders in that group, co-founder and CEO Jon Patricof told Front Office Sports.
The league first aims to deliver “incredibly high quality pro women’s professional sports,” Patricof said.
But “the mission and goal for our organization is that it will have a positive impact on the world, a positive impact on society, and a positive impact on future generations.”
Three commitments the report details include player well-being, leadership development, and uplifting diversity.
Athletes Unlimited may be the only professional league with this designation, but it’s not the only sports company — Patagonia also operates as a PBC.
Since 2020, there has been a spike in PBCs nationwide, according to Forbes.
“I hope that this is a model that inspires other sports organizations.” Patricof said.