RedBird Capital Invests $125M in NFL & MLB Players’ Commercial Rights Company

Mentioned in this article

  • The players’ associations of the NFL and MLB have partnered with RedBird Capital Partners to launch OneTeam Partners, a new company that aims to amplify the licensing of players’ commercial rights.
  • RedBird Capital invested $125M USD into the new company, and holds a roughly 40% stake. The remaining stake is owned by the players’ associations.
  • Electronic Arts paid the National Football League Players Association nearly $57M to create the Madden video game series.

Yesterday, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and RedBird Capital Partners launched OneTeam Partners, LLC, a company to help athletes maximize the value of their name, image, and likeness rights.

RedBird Capital made a capital investment of $125M and will own a roughly 40% stake. Furthermore, the firm will be contributing financial and operational expertise. The NFLPA and MLBPA own the other approximately 60% stake and will be contributing exclusive group rights, operational expertise, and personnel. OneTeam is also in talks with other U.S. players’ unions and could eventually expand internationally.

The two players associations earn roughly $120M in combined annual revenue from licensing deals with companies including Madden NFL publisher Electronic Arts and MLB The Show publisher Sony.

OneTeam will manage and further commercialize players’ intellectual property, beginning with established franchises in video games and trading cards. Subsequently, OneTeam will develop other revenue and licensing platforms. These opportunities will initially include group licensing, player marketing, and venture capital.

“We are honored to partner with the NFLPA, the MLBPA, and their players,” said Gerry Cardinale, RedBird Capital founder and managing partner, in a release. “With OneTeam, we are capitalizing a new platform company across leagues with experienced leadership focused on maximizing the value of these rights. Through this independent platform, all the participating associations will be able to accelerate current revenue streams, as well as develop future revenue categories on behalf of their members.”

Since 2010, total marketing and licensing revenue for NFL players has nearly doubled; about $200M for the season ended February, according to an annual union filing with the U.S. Department of Labor. Electronic Arts paid the union nearly $57M to make the Madden video game.

According to their latest union filing, the MLB players pulled in $61M, of which about $40M came from cardmakers and video game publishers.


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