Per Terry Lefton of SBJ, the National Basketball Players’ Association has announced the creation of National Basketball Players Inc. (“PI”) to handle commercial activities such as merchandising, sponsorship, events and content.
PI will act as a separate business unit and was established as a for-profit company with its own payroll. It will be led by Chief Marketing Officer Jordan Schlachter and three new hires from various aspects of the sports and entertainment industries: Que Gaskins, Clarence Nesbitt and Josh Goodstadt.
Gaskins will serve as the chief brand and growth officer. A veteran of the sports industry from the branding side, he has over 25 years with companies such as Nike and Reebok. He comes to PI from Def Jam Recordings, where he was the executive vice president of strategic marketing and brand partnerships. Nesbitt, most recently the director of global brand business affairs for Nike, will serve as PI’s new general counsel. Goodstadt came to the NBPA from HBO where he was vice president of global licensing and retail. He is now the exective vice president of licensing.
After bringing its commercial rights back under the NBPA umbrella for the first time in two decades (they were previously leased to the NBA), Schlachter believes that players will now receive a better return on investment for their intellectual property.
The NBPA is not the first professional players’ association to create its own extension devoted solely to marketing and licensing. While not its own entity, NFL Players Inc., serves as the NFLPA’s licensing and marketing arm that handles licensing, marketing strategy and player activation for its members.
With the 2017-18 NBA season rapidly approaching, National Basketball Players Inc. is expected to rapidly expand and establish itself.