Tuesday December 5, 2023

The Other Big Winner of Tatis Jr.’s Record Deal

  • Big League Advance allows players to monetize their potential.
  • The company has invested $156 million in minor league baseball players.
Photo: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY/Design: Alex Brooks
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Five years ago, Big League Advance placed a bet on a 17 year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. On Wednesday, that bet paid off big time.

Big League Advance allows players to monetize their potential, paying prospects up front for a cut of their future earnings. With his record breaking 14-year, $340 million deal, Tatis Jr. is now Big League Advance’s biggest success story.

The company is part of a growing industry that allows prospects to monetize their potential or otherwise hedge their bets. 

  • The recently launched Evolution Development Group focuses on athletes in sports that are expensive to break into, namely golf, auto racing and combat sports. The company recently announced Andretti Autosports as an investment partner.
  • Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie cut out the middle man last year and offered bonds connected to his own earning futures on a blockchain exchange.
  • Fantex, which bought player future earnings and then sold them on an exchange, closed its platform in 2017. 

Big League Advance’s investors include Cleveland Browns executive and former baseball executive Paul DePodesta and Marvin Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush, who chairs the company board.

Founder and CEO Michael Schwimer, 35, saw the challenges and uncertainty faced by minor leaguers in his own brief career as a relief pitcher, in which he pitched just under 50 Major League innings over two seasons.

The company has invested $156 million in minor league baseball players, using predictive analytics to forecast their future success. Because Major League Baseball’s contract structure suppresses earnings in a player’s first six years, particularly the first three, the company must take a long view of its investments.

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