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US players’ unions join forces for sports licensing venture

The players’ unions of the NFL American football league, the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and football’s US national women’s team have joined forces to launch what they claim is a first-of-its-kind group player representation business.

REP Worldwide intends to offer licensing and brand management services to athlete-driven sports properties, providing the ability for athletes to support athletes in growing their business. REP stands for Representing Every Player.

NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is joined by founding partners – the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA).

The NFLPA is the majority shareholder and will work in collaboration with its founding partners to develop the business. REP Worldwide will feature an athlete advisory board and an executive board, each comprised of representatives from its founding partners.

Ahmad Nassar, president of NFL Players Inc, said: “We’re excited about the potential of this new business. Building on the athlete likeness commercialisation successes we’ve seen through the NFLPA, REP Worldwide can immediately stand alone in terms of what it can offer athletes and partners alike.”

REP Worldwide will offer extensive resources and expert representation to a selectively chosen portfolio of athlete-driven sports properties, as they seek to govern their brands. The ultimate goal is to create and manage sustainable group licensing and player-marketing programs.

REP Worldwide’s initial representation services will include: strategic planning; leveraging athlete intellectual property group rights; structuring licenses and sponsorships; consulting on marketing activation strategy; driving support for players and licensees at retail; as well as developing unique content opportunities across platforms via ACE Media, the NFLPA’s content and production subsidiary.

Becca Roux, interim executive director of the USWNTPA, said: “The UWSNT is excited to be a part of this new organisation – one that understands and believes in the value and group marketing opportunities creating by our USWNT players. Coming off the back of an incredibly successful year for women’s soccer, both in the U.S. and abroad, we see enormous potential to capitalise on the group licensing and marketing opportunities through REP Worldwide.”

Terri Jackson, director of operations for the WNBPA, added: “Working with REP Worldwide gives the WNBPA a leap forward in our group licensing program. The WNBPA is the first sports union for women and next year we celebrate our 20th anniversary. We want this milestone year to include maximising all licensing and marketing opportunities for our incredible and diverse athletes.”