I distinctly recall serving as a sports agent to many Minor League Baseball players who were making little in the form of their professional team contracts and always looking for additional income. One common source of additional income is the baseball card contract. However, even those deals bring in a minuscule amount of dollars. The card deals and autograph opportunities increase in value as the players gain prominence, but with those contracts come duties and obligations. Additionally, consumers want to know that their collectibles are authentic, and often want the athlete to sign the articles in person. As you can see, these deals come with quite a few strings attached.
A company called Victory Fine Art saw inadequacies in the collectibles market and has aimed to fill the gap of what it deems are consumers desires not currently being fulfilled. It works with the NHL, NBA and MLB to create unique and timeless pieces of fine art prominently displaying the images of famous athletes, which comes with certificates of authentication and individually numbered photos to match the individually numbered paintings.
The artwork is not cheap, but you get what you pay for. And participating athletes seem to be pretty happy with their commissions. According to one agent it has led to a general increase in cost-per-signature for several clients. That only applies when the athletes are willing to attach their signatures to the artwork.
A few professional teams have also begun to associate with Victory Fine Art in an effort to find new revenue streams. The New York Yankees now have a collection for sale in the Yankees store that remains open throughout the year. The Chicago Blackhawks also commissioned Victory Fine Art to do two Stanley Cup pieces to commemorate their victory this year.
Art can be displayed in ways that trading cards simply cannot. The lasting value of artwork is also something that consumers care about and athletes/agents should recognize. But most important for the athlete and agent is likely that the toll on the player of signing the artwork is more limited than that of signing thousands of trading cards, and the revenue ceiling is likely higher as well.
Victory Fine Art has been kind enough to offer all SportsAgentBlog readers the use of coupon code SportsAgentBlog to receive a 15% discount on first-time purchases.