NFLPA Business Accelerator Partners With Fan Health Network
The NFLPA’s business accelerator, OneTeam Collective, has partnered with and invested in a new social app founded by former NFLer and current Fox college football analyst Robert Smith. Financial details were not disclosed. OneTeam Collective will take an equity stake in the company, Fan Health Network. FHN, in turn, now has an exclusive NFLPA license for its web- and mobile-based app that uses active NFL players to push engagement and participation in corporate wellness challenges. It is the first partnership by OneTeam Collective with a company founded by a former NFL player, said Ahmad Nassar, President of NFL Players Inc. and Chair of OneTeam Collective. Since launching OneTeam in December ‘16 as a business accelerator for innovative companies seeking to incorporate sports to drive growth, the board has received about 500 pitches, Nassar said. FHN is the ninth company it has chosen to invest in, he said. “When you back companies, really especially early stage companies, nobody knows if this stuff is going to work,” Nassar said. “So you are really betting on people and the leadership team.”
NUMBER OF SPORTS ENDORSERS: Smith, a former NFLPA player rep and Exec Board member, launched the company in ‘15 but recently brought on Andy Corbin, who has held multiple C-level positions in the digital and healthcare space, notably as CFO of WebMD, CEO of Medical Manager and president of StayWell Health Management, as well as general manager of WebMD Connect. Nassar said Corbin’s experience could help propel FHN, which will use NFL players and other sports celebrities to encourage app users to work out and engage in other healthy lifestyle practices. FHN already has a number of sports personalities who act as “captains” on the app, including former NFLer Eddie George, pro golfer Billy Horschel and Basketball HOFer Katie Smith. The new partnership with OneTeam will give more NFL players the opportunity to participate in the app, and get paid for doing so. “It’s crucial to us,” Robert Smith said of the partnership with OneTeam. It gives FHN access to NFL players, who often are also well-known college football players. One of the things FHN is built on is fan affinity through college sports. The vision for the company long term includes challenges with sports stars from different schools encouraging their fellow alumni to work out.
LOOKING TO ADD CLIENTS: FHN currently has a pilot program with Ohio State but is looking to other organizations and corporations as clients. The biggest problem in corporate wellness programs is getting the population to participate, Smith said. “The most difficult segment of the employee population to engage is middle-aged men,” he added. Corbin said the app is targeting large, self-insured employers who have a real interest in keeping employee workforces healthy. “I am not going to throw a number out there, but the reason I joined Robert’s company -- this is my world, I am very well connected in this space -- and I think there is a tremendous amount of potential,” Corbin said.