Top NFL Newcomers Meet Major Brands, Learn Business 101 At NFLPA Rookie Premiere
A group of 35 NFL rookies from the '14 draft class attended the NFLPA Rookie Premiere in L.A. last Thursday through Saturday, where they took part in a trading card photo shoot and met "sponsors from major brands such as Nike, Pepsi, FedEx and EA Sports," according to Ben Volin of the BOSTON GLOBE. The players also received "tutorials on life as a pro football player from ex-players such as Marshall Faulk and Torry Holt." The Rookie Premiere "serves as an introduction into the business side of football" for players the NFLPA earmarks as potential stars. NFL Players President Keith Gordon said of the invitation process, "We identify who is showing up as potentially marketable and desirable, and that the commercial community is going to want to associate with. This is an orientation specifically about television deals to sponsorships to licensing of consumer products and the way in which this sport is brought to life through these young guys." Among the players invited to this year's event were Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney, Jaguars QB Blake Bortles, Bills WR Sammy Watkins, Raiders LB Khalil Mack, Browns QB Johnny Manziel, Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater and Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo. The event is now in its 20th year and "began as a way for the NFLPA’s official trading card company, Panini America, to get all of the top rookies in one location to hold photo shoots for their rookie cards" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/1).