Three Ways To Leverage A Brand Deal Without Money

Brands pay athletes millions of dollars every year to represent their companies as ambassadors and endorsers. Athletes are able to influence customers to support a company based on what they endorse. Athletes supporting a product, company, or brand in exchange for money and free items seems like a fair trade right? Well yes, but now you’ve seen athletes do other things with brands such as obtain equity and different activations. Lets be honest, not every athlete is fortunate enough to garner equity from a brand or even high enough compensation. With that being said, athletes can still take advantage of partnerships and relationships with brands

Here are three ways to leverage a brand deal outside of money:


Athletes can use brands to help sponsor and support their personal foundations or causes. Whether, it’s having a company like Adidas sponsoring your clinic by providing equipment or having Chase help conduct a financial summit for your partners.

Yes, you can make money and get free gear but this approach allows you to take advantage of your partnership to impact other things you are involved with.

Externship/Internship/Job Shadow

Professional Athletes are so use to being ambassadors for brands to entice customers. Public posts, commercials, wearing or using product. Little do athletes know, there is a whole process that goes behind the development of a marketing strategy let alone company. Athletes can take advantage by understanding that process through job shadowing or getting an internship position during the offseason. Want to understand business development or human resources or sales or anything you may be passionate about? You can take advantage of the brand you are working with by creating a deeper relationship besides surface level marketing.

Harrison Barnes for example spent time interning for Facebook while he was playing for the Golden State Warriors. Not only is taking advantage of a social platform that he uses to expand his fanbase but took an internship to learn the business nuances that he wouldn’t have likely learned otherwise.


Professional athletes are bombarded with the stress of having to support a village. Family and friends asking for favors and financial support can take a toll for athletes. This is where brands can come into play. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. Athletes can help decrease the load on themselves and keep money in their pockets by creating opportunities with brands for friends and family. Giving a referral to a job position for a brand you are working with is a great way to leverage a brand deal. Whether it’s Lebron James, Derick Rose, or Dame Lilliard, athletes have used their deals to give friends opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise. Of course, from there it’s important that the people you help do the work but this is a great alternative.

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