As a professional athlete, dedicating yourself to your sport may have required you to sacrifice education or the chance to gain experience in other fields.
Your time at the top has limits, so it is crucial to maximize your income while you can to ensure you have a comfortable future.
Sponsorship can play a big role in that. Often it can earn you far more than the deal you have with the sports team. Yet, like any contract, there are a lot of legal pitfalls to watch out for.
Ensure you fully understand the contract before signing it
Take special care in the early days, when any money at all may seem appealing and when you might not yet realize your potential worth.
Here are some things to consider:
- Exclusivity: What if someone else comes along later wanting to sponsor you? Would that mean you could have two sponsors, or would the first contract prevent you from working with anyone else?
- Commitments: Do you just need to wear a particular pair of shoes when you play? Or do you need to attend corporate functions or sports events you would rather skip? Extra commitments can take up valuable time you might prefer to spend with family.
- Freedom of speech: Many excellent athletes have lost their contracts because of something they posted on social media or said in an interview. Sometimes people lose contracts because of speaking out for what they believe in. Could you speak out against a war, for example?
- Ending the contract: What happens if one of you wants to terminate the sponsorship arrangement? What happens if you get injured and cannot play for months or at all?
You need to think long-term when signing sponsorship deals. Having legal help to guide you will be crucial to ensure you do not make a move you regret.