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Volume 26 No. 206
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Diving Into Potential Impact Of New NIL Venture OneTeam Partners

The creation of OneTeam Partners was front and center during a discussion between Ahmad Nassar, who will leave his post as NFL Players Inc. President to become OneTeam CEO, and NFLPA President Eric Winston at the '19 Dealmakers in Sports conference. Nassar said the NFLPA's development of OneTeam, in partnership with the MLBPA and RedBird Capital, came about because of increased player empowerment among pro athletes. "Over the last 5-10 years, there's this theme of athlete empowerment, and that is not meant in the labor context only," said Nassar, who then cited social media, brands, marketing, endorsement and content as other examples. Nassar: "In particular the athlete name, image, and likeness category, you've seen big unions like the NBPA take back their rights from the NBA. You've seen the U.S. Women's National Team take back their marketing rights from U.S. Soccer. So there's already been this trend. If we had tried to do this 5-10 years ago, it wouldn't have worked. So this really is the perfect time for it." Nassar said it was critical to partner with the MLBPA for OneTeam's success because it would help bring the organization legitimacy. Nassar added that he and Winston met with more than 75 potential partners before linking up with RedBird because of the firm's track record of partnering with rightsholders.

INSTANT IMPACT: Winston said OneTeam will be important for current NFL players. "The union has been vastly successful for the players for the last 25 years," Winston said. "And fortunately we are these creatures of habit of wondering 'What's next? How do we get better? How do we improve? How do we stay on the cutting edge of what we're doing?' Even before this, there's been an appetite from the players to keep pushing the players' union to keep breaking down those barriers." Winston: "This was the next logical step not just for the next two years or four years or five years, but for the next 20 years." So what could come next? Nassar believes international soccer and Indian cricket are two sports that OneTeam could target in the future.