Professional athletes look at post-retirement options: summit creates forum to introduce professional athletes to franchising as a means of business ownership.

Author:Brewer, Miriam L.

It didn't matter the size or shape of the ball, professional athletes representing football, basketball and baseball gathered in Atlanta for the Second Annual Professional Athlete Franchise Summit. The Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative is a program created by Coliseum Enterprises and is an outgrowth from the momentum generated after the successful execution of the Allied Athlete Group/International Franchise Association Summit that was conducted this past July. The summit was designed to introduce interested professional athletes to franchising as a means of business ownership and was the brainchild of former NFL player and Coliseum CEO Michael Stone.

The mission of PAFI is to advocate the value of the franchise industry to the professional athlete community while at the same time advocate the value of franchising to the professional athlete.


Professional athletes possess many of the same qualities, skills and traits that blend well with franchise business ownership such as: a competitive spirit while working well as a team, the drive to work hard to achieve success, an ability to shine as an individual while following the rules of the game and the plays in the book and respect for and appreciation of the team's brand.

This year's PAFI Franchise Summit opened with a reception hosted by IFA and Dunkin' Donuts. Numerous IFA Board of Director members were in attendance including Eric McCarthey, senior vice president, corporate commercial execution group, the Coca-Cola Co., who serves as chairman of the Diversity Institute. McCarthey remarked how the professional athlete initiative has the potential to bring so much value to IFA members who seek to reach underserved and untapped markets. John Rotche, CFE, president and CEO of Belfor Franchise Group, gripped the audience with his life story and his transition into franchising. After suffering a paralyzing football injury before college, Rotche had to rethink career choices which eventually led him to explore franchising.

Educating and Recruiting Athletes About Franchising

IFA's Diversity Institute Board has taken the lead in working with PAFI to develop a plan of action for successful education and recruitment of professional athletes into franchising. During the annual convention, the Diversity Institute Board hosted the New Markets Summit that focused on "Preparing Professional Athletes for Life after Sports: What Franchising has to Offer" and it was from that...

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