The countdown is on…Superbowl 50 is a mere few days away. Jerseys have been bought, buffalo chicken dip ingredients purchased, and foam fingers are at the ready. February 7th might be the best or worst day of the year for you depending on how your team faired in the playoffs. But whether you’re a die-hard supporter or just a fair-weather fan, we all have our favorite players.
Although we like to think our favorite professional athletes will play forever or at least have long and flourishing careers, the reality is that most athletes will find themselves back in the general workforce within three to six years of being drafted. The typical career length of most players is shorter than you think; 3.5 years in the NFL, 4.8 years in the NBA, 5.6 years in the MLB, and 5.5 years in the NHL. Legacy players along the lines of Jim Kelly, Bret Favre, and Peyton Manning are not the norm. Young athletes have to find a way to make short careers last through a long retirement. Unfortunately, financial downfall awaits many of them. 15.7% of NFL players file for bankruptcy within 12 years of retirement.
So what can pro-football players do to protect their financial futures once professional competition is no longer an option? The answer, believe it or not, lies in franchising. Franchising can provide athletes with an easy transition into post-retirement life by providing a system that works a lot like a professional sports team with a support group and rule book to follow. It just makes sense!
So much sense in fact, that Michael Stone, a former NFL safety, formed the Professional Athletes Franchise Initiative in 2010. This organization aims to educate pro athletes on the business of franchising, connect them with potential franchising opportunities, and communicate the value an athlete can bring to a franchise business. Their ongoing educational programs and business workshops help coach athletes on the industry. Just a few months ago, PAFI helped organize an NFL Franchising Boot Camp, a three day program in which 22 current and former NFL players learned about franchise opportunities from the experts.
So where are these athletes directing their franchise investments? Here is just a sampling of some big names you might recognize behind your favorite businesses:
Peyton Manning – Papa John’s
Perhaps the most well-known athlete franchisee is Peyton Manning, owner of 25 Papa John’s locations in Colorado. After appearing in several ads for the pizza company in 2011 and 2012, Manning decided to invest in the fourth-largest pizza chain in the U.S. It looks like he made a great decision, as the average Papa John’s franchise pulls in a yearly revenue of over $800,000.
Roosevelt Colvin – The UPS Store
This former New England Patriots linebacker owns several UPS stores in Indianapolis. The franchise boasts over 1,400 locations in the U.S. and Canada, and has been the number one postal and business services franchise for 25 years. Colvin credits his business success to his time spent on the field, “I’ve been a The UPS Store franchisee for five years and credit my football career for preparing me to run my business. It takes the same amount of preparation, dedication, focus and teamwork to make sure my business is well run.”
Jerry Richardson – Hardee’s
Although Richardson only scored four touchdowns in his career with the Indianapolis Colts, one of them was during the 1959 Superbowl to win the game. Richardson used his championship bonus to purchase a Hardee’s franchise. Years later, he sold his franchise empire of over 220 locations and went on to become part owner of the Carolina Panthers.
Jumbo Elliott – Dunkin’ Donuts
The former NFL lineman had a long career with the New York Giants and the New York Jets spanning from 1988 to 2002. Retiring to Long Island after the 2002 season, Elliott purchased two Dunkin’ Donuts franchises that he still operates and frequents to this day. The coffee giant remains one of the fastest growing franchises out there with over 11,500 locations worldwide.
Drew Brees – Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
The Superbowl champion owns five Jimmy John’s locations in New Orleans and is slated to open another 18 in the coming years. A former college friend of Brees’ became the Director of Operations at Jimmy John’s and convinced the football star to invest in the franchise. His locations consistently perform within the system’s top 5% of franchisees, bringing in nearly $900,000 yearly revenue on average.
While we don’t have any professional athletes in the Mosquito Joe system, it’s easy to understand why owning a franchise is a good transition for an athlete – and while mosquito control may not sound as sexy as the restaurant industry, our franchisees love the appeal of a business that keeps them out in the fresh air vs. a stuffy office. If you want to follow in Peyton Manning’s footsteps, minus the wildly successful NFL career, check out Mosquito Joe’s Franchise Opportunity page for details on the franchisee experience. Starting your own business can be overwhelming and scary. Maybe franchising is the answer for you.