NFLPA Unable to Collect over $40 Million in Licensing From Crypto Collapse
The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has revealed that as of the end of its fiscal year, it was unable to collect $41.8 million in licensing and sponsorship revenue from OneTeam Partners, LLC and pay it to the union.
OneTeam Partners is a joint venture that oversees the commercial ventures of the NFLPA, Major Leage Baseball Players Association, US Women’s National Soccer Team, Major League Soccer Players Association, Women’s National Basketball Players Association and college name, image and likeness.
According to an analysis of its annual report, this figure represents about a quarter of the NFLPA’s commercial revenue and translates to a potential loss of $19,578 for each of its 2,135 active players. According to a person involved in the NFLPA transaction and a representative of another sports association, these issues could be linked to the collapse of the cryptocurrency market. “OneTeam would expect $60 million from Dapper & DraftKings, of which $41 million would go to the NFLPA,” said the person involved in the NFLPA transaction.
“Now, NFTs are relatively new, so most of the money usually comes from Madden and trading cards.” The NFLPA had a $75 million marketing agreement with the NFL, which accounts for a fifth of its total commercial revenue. The partnership with Dapper Labs and DraftKings for nonfungible tokens (NFTs) was announced in 2021 and appeared to be lucrative at the time.
However, complications have arisen as NFTs have become less financially viable, with Sportico reporting that the NFLPA had been asked to renegotiate its deals. “The non–fungible nature of NFTs is what makes sports fandom special,” said Steve Cebello, president of Sports at NFL Players Inc (NFLPA’s marketing and licensing arm). “Our players are extremely excited for the NFLPA — working with our entrepreneurial partners at Dapper Labs and OneTeam — to make this important push into the digital collectibles market.”
The MLBPA’s annual report for calendar year 2022 made no mention of missing payments from OneTeam, which owed the union $36.4 million. A spokeswoman for the MLBPA stated that they were aware of OneTeam’s non–payment issues.
Despite the loss of this income, the NFLPA is doing relatively well financially, with its assets having risen from $1.003 billion to $1.055 billion in the most recent fiscal year. The union is now preparing to select its new executive director, with a meeting scheduled next month when a new executive director can be appointed by the 32 player representatives.