Some of today’s most successful athletes are also winning in franchising, including Lebron James, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and A-Rod.
Shaq has been in the news a lot recently for his partnership with Papa John’s. Although he may be the most recent example, there is certainly a long history of star athletes and celebrities playing—and winning—the franchise game, with franchisors eager to utilize star power to expand their brands.
This year, Floyd Mayweather launched his own fitness franchise, Mayweather Boxing + Fitness, capitalizing on the booming fitness segment. Although the boxing concept currently only operates one location in Los Angeles, the company announced last month that it has over 100 locations in development nationwide.
A-Rod also decided to try his hand in the fitness segment, becoming a part-owner and board member of fitness gym TruFusion.
Another basketball legend, Lebron James, invested in the rapidly growing, build-your-own pizza franchise Blaze Pizza in 2012. Since investing, James has become an all out ambassador for Blaze Pizza, particularly using his incredible social media following to promote the chain. For example, a video of James working behind the counter went viral a few years ago, garnering over two million views. This strategy has proven to be successful, with the company exploding in value and size after James’ investment.
In all of these cases, the built-in name recognition of the cache of celebrity athletes has proven to be a huge advantage in terms of drawing in customers. While most franchisors struggle to build brand buzz, these heavy hitters and their reputations for success convince franchisees to invest and customers to patron.
Only time will tell which other brands shall get the chance to jump aboard the celebrity athlete train.
To read the full Forbes list, click here.