Building Enterprises Beyond the Sport

Blessed with otherworldly skills, and holding records, rings and trophies as proof, professional athletes are seen as the true icons of their time. Adults admire them, kids want to grow up to be them — the world’s their oyster.

And yet, pro athletes are often the most vulnerable talent.

Let’s face it: nothing’s guaranteed in any profession. Getting that first foothold, climbing up to the top, staying at the top – it’s tough for everybody everywhere. Uncertainty of a professional athlete’s career comes in many forms: How long will their skills hold out? When will they, or their team, stop winning? And of course, there’s the risk, at every moment, of catastrophic injury that can terminate a career without warning.

Previous generations of sports stars relied on their short-term high earnings to sustain a lifetime of steady income. It is no secret that professional athletes sometimes struggle to manage their finances during and after their playing careers.

In recent years, a variety of tools and technologies have been developed to spread that wealth to a diverse range of business interests outside the sports world. Many champions of the court, field and gridiron are partnering with finance experts and accessing business resources to advance their entrepreneurial interests. Athletes are ensuring their financial futures by managing their brands efficiently and securely with the help and support of institutions like City National Bank.

“One of the most critical aspects of an athletes’ relationship with their banker, adviser or agent is to approach their ventures as an active CEO,” says Todd Burach, SVP, team leader, head of Sports and Family Office Banking, at City National. “City National’s technology and business is built to allow our clients a hands-on experience and AgilLink, specifically, allows athletes and their advisers to make informed decisions from anywhere – on or off the field, court or boardroom.”

Coaching and broadcasting slots are few and far between, and people capable of successfully making such career shifts within the sports arena are even fewer. The new generation of athlete-entrepreneurs are tapping into industries as far afield as venture capital, real estate, fashion and spirits to build their fortunes.

Translating Athlete Identities into Brands That Resonate

Many athletes are built-in influencers. They’re harnessing their star power on social media and they’re reaching audiences like never before. Their popularity and influence are no longer dictated just by their performance in their sport; they build fan bases by offering a glimpse of their lives.

Endorsements and sponsorships have been traditional means of income. Nowadays, athletes can generate millions of dollars by turning their hobbies and passions into enterprises.

Surrounding Athletes With the Right Team

Input from a team of advisers is critical as athletes will almost certainly lack financial expertise. The goal for all parties involved, including business managers, multi-family offices, agents, wealth planners and accountants, is to enhance the athlete’s life on a day-to-day basis and for their future.

Navigating Finances to Make Educated Business Decisions

Each step of the way, it’s essential to enter a partnership with a bank that has trusted technologies to maximize an athlete’s finances. Specialists with proven experience are brought in to help athletes steer clear of high risk and pain points.

One of the unique aspects of City National Bank is its technology ecosystem. AgilLink, an affiliate of the bank, is a family office services platform providing multi-client bill pay and client accounting. This technology is specifically designed for firms that serve high net worth clients such as business managers and family offices.

AgilLink automates the client bill payment process and allows firms to securely scale their operations while adding more controls and transparency. This is especially important for firms that serve professional athletes. Given athletes’ busy schedules a key service trusted advisers provide is paying their bills and taxes. AgilLink enables these firms to do this securely and provide the transparency needed so they do not miss important payments such as life insurance or mortgage payments. There is even a mobile app in which the athlete can be involved in the approval process.

“AgilLink’s tight integration with City National Bank along with our cloud based approval workflow and financial accounting capabilities provides a platform in which firms can securely scale their business,” notes Erin Oremland, general manager of AgilLink. “Without AgilLink, family offices are reliant upon retail software that is not designed for their business and does not have the controls and auditability in place.”

AgilLink is an RBC company and is an affiliate of City National Bank Member FDIC Deposit products and services are provided by City National Bank Member FDIC. City National Bank is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. City National Bank does business in the state of Florida as CN Bank.