Home Financial consultant Former footballer Louis Saha helps athletes become media entrepreneurs

Former footballer Louis Saha helps athletes become media entrepreneurs


Former Manchester United soccer player Louis Saha is a reluctant talker, but that doesn’t mean he’s introverted. He speaks when he has something big to say and he has a lot to say about athletes becoming more enterprising, especially when it comes to media and entertainment.

In fact, Saha has regularly urged his fellow footballers to secure their financial futures since hanging up his own boots in 2013. The rags-to-riches stories that define many players’ entry into elite sport can too often unwind upside down when they leave. he. As recently as 2018, a survey by Four Four Two magazine estimated that 40% of professional footballers faced financial problems during their careers or in retirement.

“In fact, I think it’s easier than ever for athletes and celebrities to ensure their long-term financial security,” said Simon Oliveira, director of talent and creative sports company IP Kin Partners. . The top performers have never had so much wealth or so many investment options. That said, we live in a world where agents, financial advisers, and business people target young and impressionable talent with significant wealth, so seeking the right advice is essential.

Saha’s own experiences confirm this. As a player, Saha discovered that his own agent had agreed to a six-figure commission to be paid to someone associated with a club he was about to sign for. He found it hard to understand why he had to pay an exorbitant sum to an individual he had never even met. Saha had to constantly “play”, in his own words, with the advisers he employed, devoid of his own expertise.

While talking about these difficulties over the years raised awareness, Saha wanted to do more. So he created the AxisStars platform in 2014 – a place where elite athletes and artists can go for all kinds of advice, potential business opportunities, and off-court networking opportunities. And although it’s been around for several years, AxisStars couldn’t be more relevant than it is now.

“The age of social media has intensified the connection with athletes and fans, for better or for worse, but athletes are not always best equipped to understand this influence,” Saha told Digiday. “Sure, there are sites and PDFs that people can access, but it’s not always digestible for athletes and artists. It is difficult for them to control their affairs.

In AxisStars, Saha, alongside her business partner and marketing consultant Kate Hamer, is building a platform to change that. In a world where it’s too easy for athletes to exploit their lack of financial sense or constantly run out of bad advice, there are few places they can turn to repeatedly to judge this. which is best for their finances. Think of AxisStars as a cross between LinkedIn and Tinder for athletes and artists looking to seize business opportunities.

“There are a lot of advisers, supporters, federations, even player unions around the athletes who all have their own agenda,” Hamer said. “AxisStars is focusing more on how we use technology to create the ideal career path based on their interests and where they are in their careers, for talent to make sure they get the most out of it. “

When it was launched, AxisStars was only open to former athletes. Eventually, the current athletes were also allowed in. Once there, users could discuss career-related issues with each other, from lifestyle to finances, insurance to fitness. There is even a place where they can go and manage their trade agreements.

“We want athletes and artists to see the platform as a safe space they can trust; where all the information is there for them or they can access contacts they don’t have, ”Saha said. It is a place that is built for them and that is governed by an internal logic that will grow with the regulation of technology, not commercial greed. The experience is private, so people don’t have to be ashamed to ask for something they think others would expect them to know.

This experience has evolved over time. What started as a site is now also an application. Over the years, Saha and Hamer have brought small groups of athletes and artists from different fields into the app in stages to get their feedback and ideas on what they need. This is why the platform is now 65% soccer. Of course, Saha has the most connections.

Rugby was another goal. It now represents around 15% of the AxisStars user base. Cricket is another area of ​​future growth at around 4% of the platform, as are female athletes at 22%. Five in 10 (52%) of its members are in the UK, a third (33%) of them are in France, 10% in the rest of Europe and 3% in the US

“Athletes don’t always get the support they need because a lot of the industry is focused on the short term,” Hamer said. “The social media training that a footballer receives, for example, will focus on not causing problems for the club. Footballers rarely receive training on how to develop their own brand.

Athletes and artists share their interests with the app while creating a profile. This interest is then used to inform the commercial offers they receive through the app. All of these offers come from companies that have paid a fee to join AxisStars where they are reviewed by an internal board of directors. App consultants, agents, and lawyers also pay a fee and go through the same verification process.

Members rate these companies and individuals, much like they would an Uber driver or Airbnb host, so that others get a feel for the quality of the service. “It’s one thing to make money, but knowing where, when and how to invest it is a very different ball game,” said Oliveira. “If you surround yourself with the right people, smart enough to know when they need to bring in outside expertise to oversee investment opportunities, that’s half the battle. Ultimately, all investments come with risk, but you mitigate those risks if you seek high-level expert advice, like a good management team would. “

The idea is that AxisStars is not just a platform for the most popular talents in the world of sports and entertainment. Someone who doesn’t have businesses lining up to sponsor could use it to show up in front of more sponsors.

“We’re more focused on education, but we see the platform as a hub where people can find pretty much anything about how they can develop their own interests,” Saha said.


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