Greentop Gifts and Signables are the first two companies to participate in the NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA) Driven program, which accelerates diverse-led, early-stage consumer product businesses through a robust two-year group licensing and marketing curriculum. Driven is designed to facilitate opportunity and growth for diverse business entrepreneurs (or “Playmakers,” as the NFLPA recognizes them) by creating access to conversations, education, mentorship, and resources that would level the playing field and position them for long-term success.
At the root of the diversity gap in licensing is what the NFLPA defines as “sideline culture” – the systemic and inequitable reality experienced daily by business leaders who are people of color, women and/or individuals from other underrepresented groups. Launched in October 2021, Driven is committed to breaking down institutional barriers and supporting diverse entrepreneurs through unique access to NFL players for branded products and marketing power.
“Our goal for Driven is to serve as a model across the licensing industry to empower diverse entrepreneurs by offering access to product development services, mentorship, funding, strategic introductions, player licensing rights and marketing support,” said Terese Whitehead, Vice President, Consumer Products & Strategy, NFL Players Inc. “We want to build a foundation that helps get products representing all fans into the pipeline and, through the accelerator, allow Driven Playmakers to extend their business by connecting with other licensors in sports and beyond.”
The Playmakers were selected based on a wide range of criteria including, among other areas, market phase, distribution, third-party license opportunity, diversity of leadership, product and target audience, category, revenue model and competitive advantage. The program will guide companies from product development through go-to-market stages to ensure they are prepared for growth and long-term success with an NFLPA group license. The first two Playmakers will benefit from a two-year program designed to accelerate their business by leveraging NFLPA’s strategic assets and group licensing rights. These rights grant access to more than 2,000 active NFL players and their marketing influence.
The two-year Driven program offers:
- An opportunity for funding, mentorship, research and development, product creation and marketing support.
- Consultation from licensing and consumer product experts, sports business executives, entrepreneurs, investors and athletes.
- Coaching sessions and special events to help navigate and thrive in the licensing ecosystem.
1863 Ventures, a business development program that accelerates New Majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth, will provide business coaching and mentorship to help Playmakers achieve their business goals and objectives. The Playmakers’ new player-centric product lines will be licensed in collaboration with Fanatics, the NFLPA’s exclusive apparel and hard-lines partner.
For more information on Greentop Gifts, Signables, and the NFLPA’s Driven Accelerator Program, visit NFLPA’s website.