Any aspiring athlete will be told on numerous occasions that life as a professional sportsperson is short and, above all, unpredictable. The lesson here is to make sure that there is sufficient time put into school and even tertiary education, given that any cruel twist of fate could prevent one from fulfilling their potential on the sports field. In essence, there always has to be a plan B. This is of course a wise strategy to follow and there will be many athletes out there who were glad they listened to it. There will also be just as many who wished they had.
But what is very rarely or, ever, taught, is that a life in the professional world of sport can also equip one with the skills needed to succeed in the world of business. Sport can provide so many valuable life lessons, like the importance of teamwork and the skill of being decisive. Perhaps the most treasured asset that life at the top of the sporting world can give, is the expertise of leadership and accountability.
When you combine those traits with the inevitable bouts of good luck that life at the top can bring, like meeting influential contacts who are able to open doors, you have a recipe for success. These are examples of sportspeople who were able to use their sporting education to thrive in the world of business.
The leading run-scorer in ODIs and Test cricket and, without question, India’s favorite sporting son, Sachin Tendulkar, is now breaking records away from the field of play. Tendulkar has built a net worth in the region of $120 million after investing in a UAE travel company, a sports management agency, a clothing label, and a promising tech startup called Smartron.
The man affectionally referred to as Little Maestro announced his retirement from cricket in 2013 after an illustrious 24-year career. But it seems that he is now enjoying a second act that could even threaten to rival his accomplishments on the pitch.
Serena Williams hasn’t finished playing yet but that hasn’t stopped the 23-time Grand Slam champion from amassing a fortune of $225 million. William’s impressive investment portfolio includes an Indonesian coffee-line named Kopi Kenangan, her own clothing line called S by Serena, as well as starting her own capital firm, Serena Ventures. Williams has also invested in the American football team Miami Dolphins and has shares in the UFC.
Conor McGregor may have a reputation as one of the bad boys of world sport but behind the scenes and away from the world of UFC, the Irishman is pioneering his way in the business world. The 32-year-old launched a digital media company and a fashion label in the last few years that has seen his net worth rise to $120 million.
McGregor’s biggest source of income is still from his work in the octagon. But with the end in sight, he will want to ensure that he has a future revenue source that can match his significant earnings as a fighter. Indeed, the Irishman is said to have pocketed an enormous $45 million from his blockbuster fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov. So, he will be looking for one last significant payday before he announces his retirement.
Fans will want to see him fight Khabib Nurmagomedov again and McGregor will surely jump at the chance, despite being beaten in their previous match-up, given the potentially lucrative purse on offer. Khabib retired at the end of 2020 but there are rumors that he will make his return to the UFC in 2021. In fact, there are even potential odds on his next UFC fight listed which suggests that the Russian will be back in the octagon this year. Sadly for McGregor, the fight being talked about is a match-up with Georges St. Pierre.
But even if McGregor didn’t ever earn another penny from fighting in the UFC, he would be well-positioned to enjoy life after sport. The same goes for Tendulkar, Williams, and the hundreds of other athletes who have ventured out of their comfort zone to try their hand in the private sector. When the curtain falls on their respective careers, they will be more than prepared for the second act.