- NFL legend Tom Brady is carefully constructing a business empire for when he retires from football.
- Some of the companies he has equity in are worth billions of dollars.
- Insider breaks down his companies, investments, trademark applications, and business team.
In May, Fox Sports announced a peculiar — and large — deal. Whenever legendary quarterback Tom Brady retires, he’ll have a job with the network as an NFL analyst. The 10-year contract is reportedly worth hundreds of millions, according to multiple outlets.
But long before the deal was signed, let alone announced, Brady was planning for his retirement. (It was supposed to happen this year, before he unexpectedly announced he’d play another season for the Buccaneers.)
Over the last decade, the football player has founded or cofounded five companies, invested in at least another five, and, through various endorsement deals, is a shareholder in four others.
Brady, who had been thoughtful throughout his career about the brands he chose to associate himself with, and sparingly acted as a commercial pitchman, is carefully constructing his own business empire.
“Tom Brady was as attractive a person and a brand as existed in the American sportscape,” said Leigh Steinberg, a top sports agent and CEO of Leigh Steinberg Sports and Entertainment Holdings. “He’s been very innovative and taken advantage of a larger concept of athletes as brands and the ability to take equity in businesses.”
Steinberg added: “It’s a cycle of ambition, a vision of himself as a larger figure than just an endorser.”
Part of that vision includes his own media, clothing, and health and wellness vehicles.
In June, Brady’s Religion of Sports, the media company he cofounded with Michael Strahan and Gotham Chopra in 2016, raised $50 million of fresh funding that valued the company at $140 million, according to PitchBook.
And while some of the other companies Brady has founded don’t have publicly available valuations, they, too, have been churning out wins.
199 Productions has a documentary in the works with the Russo brothers’ AGBO Films, as well as a feature film starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field. Clothing line Brady Brand, which launched this year, is now sold in Nordstrom stores. And TB12, his wellness brand, announced its latest brick-and-mortar locations in March.
Some of Brady’s other bets are in more speculative areas.
Autograph — the celebrity-focused NFT platform that Brady cofounded with serial entrepreneur Richard Rosenblatt, his son Dillon Rosenblatt, and IBM alum Josh Payne last year — was valued at $3 billion in a January Series B funding round. That was before the valuation of the crypto market tumbled and the so-called “crypto winter” set in. Brady’s stake in Autograph isn’t public, but as one of four founders, it’s likely significant.
Aside from his own businesses, Brady has built up a diverse investment portfolio. He has invested twice in Class technologies, the virtual classroom company that was worth $804 million as of its latest funding round in July 2021. And in September, he invested in Omaze, the charity fundraising platform valued at $935 million.
Plus, thanks to various other deals, he is a shareholder in even more billion-dollar businesses. As an ambassador for crypto giant FTX, he got a stake in the company, which was valued $32 billion in January (prior to the crypto crash). And he has a piece of sports merchandise company Fanatics, his memorabilia distributor of choice, which was valued in March at $27 billion.
And those are just a few of Brady’s endorsement deals. The athlete is also Hertz’s latest pitchman, and is starring in ads for the rental-car giant that poke fun at Brady’s short-lived retirement.
While he’s already built an expansive footprint, Brady doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. His team filed more than 70 trademark applications in March that hint at his business passions, like health and wellness.
“There appears to be a synergy in the projects he selects, which has to do with his reputation for pristine work ethic,” Steinberg said.
Here is a breakdown of the Brady businesses, from his dozens of trademarks to the companies he’s founded — as well as a look at the team behind it all.
From candles to NFTs, Tom Brady’s team has filed for trademark rights to a slew of products and services
In March, a month after the seven-time Super Bowl champion announced his retirement from the NFL, Brady’s lawyers applied for a slew of trademarks.
While Brady later changed his mind, the applications remain pending and shed light on how Brady’s team is thinking about his post-football career.
“He has more trademarks registered than some public companies,” said Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney and founder of Gerben Law Firm, which tracks interesting trademark filings on its website, including Brady’s. “You can see where his brand strategy is a lot more evolved than the average one.”
The applications speak to a range of the athlete’s business interests, from health and wellness products to digital collectibles and NFT marketplaces — and cover footballs, protein bars and supplements, digital tokens, cookbooks, fitness apps, sports drinks, celebrity appearances, and much more.
“He can transcend the narrow genre of hardcore sports fans because he’s a household name, and attach himself with anything in terms of a business enterprise that he desires,” Steinberg said.
There are surprises, too. A Tom Brady-scented candle, anyone? How about Brady-branded bed sheets?
Of course, trademark lawyers often file applications to cover their bases, and these don’t necessarily mean a Brady candle line is coming anytime soon.
“It’s very common that once you reach a certain level and you say, ‘I can do more than just act,’ or ‘I can do more than just throw a football’ … then you start to think about, ‘How do I protect myself in that environment?'” Gerben said.
Many of these applications are also pending, and there’s no guarantee they’ll ever be registered. In 2019, the US Patent and Trademark Office denied Brady’s attempt to trademark the name “Terrific Tom,” which was the moniker for Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver.
Still, Brady’s team applied for trademarks earlier in the athlete’s career that have tied into actual products, including filing for the rights to his nickname “Tompa Bay” on t-shirts, which TB12 has sold.
The Brady Bunch: Brady has employed a team to help manage his budding empire
Brady has a large team supporting his various efforts, including agents for both his on-the-field and off-the-field efforts. Here’s a look at the people who make up Brady’s team.