Football Greats Alliance Preserves the Legacy of Former NFL Players
IMG, a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion, today unveiled the Football Greats Alliance (FGA), a first-of-its-kind agency created to manage the collective marketing and licensing rights of retired players.
Operated by IMG, the FGA creates, develops and manages the strategic execution of rights for more than 22,000 retired NFL players, offering a one-stop shop for marketing rights, approvals, contracting and financing for a group that includes 160+ Hall of Famers, 50+ Heisman winners, 225+ broadcasters and 35 NFL MVPs. Through relationships with authentic sponsors, partners and licensees, the FGA will help solidify and preserve the legacy of former NFL players.
“The FGA will provide opportunities for retired players to band together for a wide variety of partnerships,” said Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns legend, Pro Football Hall of Famer, and Chairman of the Board, FGA. “These deals will have direct financial benefits to the players involved, and more importantly, will provide revenue for the Greater Good Fund which will benefit the health and welfare of retired players.”
The NFL will play an integral role in supporting the FGA, providing access to NFL sponsors, club marketing personnel, and hospitality space for events including the 2017 Super Bowl and Pro Bowl. The NFL is underway on projects to sell retired players’ jerseys online in tandem with nflshop.com licensees, and to cross-promote the FGA on NFL digital platforms.
“We are so proud to be working with the NFL on an offering that will fundamentally change the opportunities available to retired players,” said Drew Sheinman, SVP of Brand Development, IMG. “We’ve already seen an incredible amount of interest across licensing, sponsorship and endorsements, content, fan experiences, premium hospitality, media rights, education and employment for this incredible group of individuals, and we’re just getting started. Our proprietary research shows an overwhelming goodwill toward retired players, and we’re honored to have been entrusted with this opportunity.”
In March 2013, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the settlement of the NFL’s image/likeness lawsuit with retired NFL players. As a part of the $50 million resolution of the case, the Pro Football Retired Players Association (PFRPA) was created to administer the terms of several new ventures. The two major initiatives born out of the PFRPA are the FGA and The Greater Good Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation.
“We are pleased to work with the Football Greats Alliance and IMG to connect retired players with our partners,” said Tracy Perlman, the NFL’s Vice President of Entertainment Marketing and Promotions. “The Greater Good Fund and FGA will provide valuable assistance to retired players.”
The FGA is governed by a Board of Directors including Jim Brown (Chairman), Ron Mix, (Vice-Chair), Dave Robinson, Jack Youngblood, Irv Cross, Billy Joe Dupree, and Darrell Thompson.
During Super Bowl 50, the alliance worked with Anheuser-Busch, a major NFL sponsor, on a campaign for Bud Light to market its Super Bowl 50 commemorative bottles. Along with an activation in San Francisco’s Union Square during Super Bowl week, Bud Light ran a national ad during the game that highlighted Super Bowl plays from the past—the Football Greats Alliance secured the game footage.
IMG said it’s in talks with other major NFL sponsors and brand partners including Visa, New Era and DirecTV.
IMG conducted a first-of-its kind, in-depth study with over 3,000 avid NFL fans, exploring the reasons fans connect with retired NFL players and why these players remain relevant to today’s fans. The results found overwhelming goodwill toward retired NFL players.
Among the key findings:
• 81 percent agree retired players make excellent spokesmen.
• 79 percent agree retired players are an important part of American pop culture.
• 72 percent want a greater selection of retired player jerseys.
• 63 percent are more likely to consider purchasing a product if it’s connected to their favorite retired player.
The formation of the FGA coincides with the establishment of the Greater Good Fund (GGF), designed to support health and welfare programs for the retired players. Established with the initial funding from the NFL, 25% of all proceeds from FGA partnerships will go to the GGF. Initial programs include the development of the first ever dental insurance program for retired players.