Don’t Make a Deal Without Asking These 6 Questions

Oct 3, 2023

As more people and brands seek to profit from your success on the court, asking the right questions to help ensure you’re protected is more important than ever.

Key Takeaways

  • Brands may seek to strike a partnership deal with you as your success and recognition grow.  

  • Consider how a sponsorship or partnership will align with your personal brand. 

  • Have a legal team review the details of any contract to ensure the terms are reasonable and fair.  

As your hard work and training translate to more success on the court, new opportunities may come your way. From sponsorships and endorsements to business partnerships and product collaborations, brands and companies may seek to benefit from your success and star power. 


But there are a few details to consider before you sign a contract– like ensuring you’re being compensated properly and evaluating whether an opportunity is a good fit for your personal brand. Here are six questions to consider before you agree to any deal.  


1. Is this the right fit for my brand?


Before you do anything else, take a moment to consider whether the deal is a good fit. Does it reflect your personal brand and values? Will it boost your reputation and possibly open doors for future endeavors? Be sure that the opportunity is in line with who you are as a person. 

Each opportunity will require time and focus, so you should consider if it will take time away from your training or matches.
2. Does the timing work?

Each opportunity will require time and focus, so you should consider if it will take time away from your training or matches. After all, you probably don’t want to be shooting a commercial or doing an appearance halfway around the world right before a big tournament. 


3. How will I be compensated and how much?


Compensation comes in many forms, ranging from free or sponsored products and services to cash or an equity share in a company. You may earn an agreed-upon amount or part of your compensation may be tied to how you perform on the court or whether your promotion generates sales for the brand. In addition, consider the currency in which you’re being paid and the value of that currency in your country. What seems like big bucks in one country may be considerably less once the currency is exchanged for your own and the tax due is calculated.

Consult proper advisors, including your attorney or an agent, to review the details and help ensure the terms are fair.
4. What's in the fine print?

The contract you sign to seal the deal will likely have a number of terms and conditions that need to be met. While this may seem like boring legal jargon, some can have serious implications. Here are some of the key points to review:


  • Image rights and usage: Specifics—and limits—of how your name and likeness will be used and for how long. 

  • Obligations: Number of appearances, social media posts or other promotional activities you may be required to do. 

  • Exclusivity: Limitations that restrict you from partnering with competitors.

  • Duration and termination: How long the deal will last and under what circumstances. Review the terms under which either party can end the deal, including what happens in cases of early termination or breach of the agreement.


There are bound to be a slew of other legal considerations involved. For instance, you should understand what would happen if in some way you could not fulfill the contract, such as getting injured and not being able to play. Consult proper advisors, including your attorney or an agent, to review the details and help ensure the terms are fair. 


5. What else do I need to protect?


Your personal brand may extend beyond your name and likeness. If you have other businesses and endorsements or even a popular nickname, catch phrase or logo, be sure that your agreements spell out if those valuable assets can be referenced or not. You may also consider registering for a trademark to protect ownership of those elements. 


6. Do I even want to do this?


It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each deal that’s presented to you. For example, if a deal is not aligned with your personal values and goals or feels vague, ask yourself if agreeing to it is worth the risk. You have the power to decline any deal that isn’t a good fit for you.


Whether from brand endorsements, social media partnerships, merchandise or other opportunities, you may have the opportunity to profit from your talent. Be sure to review each deal carefully and enlist a team of advisors to help you evaluate and negotiate. This can include your attorney and  accountant to help ensure you’re being compensated fairly and ensure that any deal aligns with your financial goals. 



Personalized Financial Advice

Build a plan to help you navigate your complex financial decisions and achieve the future you want, with a Morgan Stanley Global Sports and Entertainment Financial Advisor dedicated to serving the needs of professional athletes.


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