Sports | December 7, 2016 9:00 am

The NFL Players Association Is Launching a Venture Capital Arm

Or, how to get Cam Newton to endorse your startup

If a startup like Brooklyn’s Skinny Fatties had tried to use Cam Newton’s likeness to sell ties (after all the publicity he got for not wearing one) yesterday, they would never have had a chance.

Today, thanks to a new venture by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), they actually might.

In conjunction with a sextet of founding partners that includes the Harvard Innovation Lab, Madrona Venture Group and Intel, the NFLPA has launched a venture firm that will offer companies access to its members for licensing and marketing purposes in exchange for equity in the company. What that means is smaller organizations that previously wouldn’t have been able to dream of affording the licensing rights to use one of the more than 2,000 current NFL players the NFLPA has access to can now make a deal with OneTeam Collective that doesn’t directly involve cash.

Considering the NFLPA earns about $160 million annually by billing established firms like Nike and EA to use its players to sell products, that’s a fairly significant development for startups.

“The idea here is that younger companies would be able to tap into that same value without having to put up that same cash,” NFL Players Inc. president Ahmad Nassar told Bloomberg.

In addition to giving rights and access to NFL Players, the “athlete-driven business accelerator” will provide companies with the chance to seek funding and mentorship from OTC’s investors.

If you want to trade equity in your fledgling tire-gauge company for Tom Brady’s endorsement, apply here.