May 14, 2021

Croissants, wine and video games: this is how football players invest their fortunes | Economy

Croissants, wine and video games: this is how football players invest their fortunes | Economy

"Many begin to invest through private banking or advisory companies, recommended by lawyers, representatives and even costume partners. And they also receive many proposals through family and friends, "explains Carmelo Lazaro, director of large estates of Tressis. Until the outbreak of the crisis, the traditional form of investment for athletes was brick, which left some of them with big losses when the bubble burst. "It was the safe, the tangible and what was renting. Now, the new generations are trying to invest in their own sector, in sport ", adds Marc Menchén, director of the sports publication Palco23.

Despite this generational change and the lessons learned, the real estate sector maintains an important place in the portfolios of great athletes. Yes, not with the same weight and far from the speculative investments of yesteryear, as argued Alberto Rodríguez, partner of the legal and fiscal area of ​​PKF Attest. "They have a more diversified portfolio. They maintain investments in the brick, but only the safest ones. Especially in real estate with a tenant inside, as a rule a large company. We are talking about great retail like Mercadona, Eroski … These rents give them a return that they would not get in any financial institution, around 6%, and they also rent it to solvent clients and with long-term contracts ".

Croissants of the firm where Álvaro Morata has invested.
Croissants of the firm where Álvaro Morata has invested.

This scenario of financial investments and in companies is not reserved for the most successful athletes. "You always think of the top, but all seek to invest their savings, although on a different scale because the level of income is higher or lower, "says Lázaro. Despite this, the best known are always the most mediatic: for example, Gerard Piqué and his continuous investments in videogames, the new Davis Cup and the recent purchase of FC Andorra, or others already removed as the Brazilian Ronaldo Nazario, president since last summer of Real Valladolid. But if there is something that unites them all, both galactic and earthly, are the mistakes made at some point when selecting where to invest your money. "The bad choice leaves big failures. That is why they are becoming more prudent and are being advised more by professionals ", adds Lázaro.

The risk of rushing

The recommendation repeated by the consulted experts is not to be in a hurry to form a good investment portfolio. "Some do not worry until they finish their sporting career. And others want to start too soon. We believe that it is best to create your exit strategy from the sports world a few years before the withdrawal, around 30 years ", insists Alberto Rodríguez, of PKF Attest. Thus, in the first years of their professional life, they recommend saving as much as possible and then investing it in an orderly manner in order to achieve sufficient profitability to maintain their standard of living.

In addition, companies specializing in this type of customer emphasize the importance of adequate tax advice to avoid problems with the Treasury, as has happened in many cases of elite athletes in recent years. "Sometimes they offer tax structures that have no basis. It is very important that they understand what their advisors explain to them. Otherwise, it is usually a sign that something is not going to be done according to the law ", add experts from PKF Attest.

The catalog of typical mistakes made by the stars The ball is wide. One of them is to choose projects without a strategy or prior study of the business model. These planning failures lead to the ruin of at least two players from each wardrobe (equivalent to 10% of the staff of a LaLiga club) in five years, according to the Spanish Association of International Footballers. A figure that is even higher in the United Kingdom, where up to three out of five ex-players have economic problems five years after hanging up their boots, according to a report prepared by the Premier League.

"The recommendation is that they invest only after conducting a professional study and in businesses they understand," says Rodríguez. These steps are already followed by great athletes, who have come closer to investing in sports, where they are able to provide added value with their experience. In this way, many have become business angels (investors in companies that are generally in their initial phases) contributing capital or their own image for a percentage of the firm. This form of investment entails a high probability that the company will not go ahead, although it does not usually involve a large injection of capital. Therefore, the losses are reduced and, if there are profits, it can yield a very high profitability. Among the known cases of success in this type of investment stands out the cyclist Lance Armstrong, who invested 100,000 euros in Uber in 2009, when it was valued at 3.7 million. Now, a decade later, it is estimated that the company is worth 27,000 times more.

In addition, this path gains followers after the failure of companies with a diffuse business model. "Sometimes they have embarked on difficult projects to follow where only they risk money, and in many cases have come to have unpleasant losses," recalls the director of great assets of Tressis.

Gerard Piqué, an insatiable financier

In the field of play, Gerard Piqué is responsible for stopping the rival attacks. But in the business world it is he who takes the initiative. Since 2011, when Kerad Games was born (company closed last year), has not stopped launching new projects. "He has a very interesting business vision and an impressive network of contacts has been created," explains Javier Alonso, CEO of Kosmos Tennis, the company through which the new Davis Cup will be managed. Alonso has been linked from the beginning to the player's business. "It is very easy to convince people about their projects," he says.

The first big step as businessman from Pique was with Kerad Games, although there were previous investments. "The company was dedicated to developing videogames and marketing them. It worked very well and there were some successful creations, "recalls the CEO of Kosmos Tennis. After this, the central culé continued looking for new businesses: among others, it participates in a signature of sunglasses, another of isotonic drinks and has a sicav (Kerad 3 Invest) with a patrimony of almost 11.8 million euros, according to the data from the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV). His last big known investment is the purchase of FC Andorra.

With a wide investment portfolio, the player has created Kosmos Holding, where he gathers his business. "There, proposals come to us and we develop our own ideas," explains Alonso. For example, the new format of the Davis Cup, the most important project of the group, arose in a talk between Piqué and a friend. "They wanted to make the tournament more attractive. The idea was presented in 2016 and he liked it very much. With the approval of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), we have reached an agreement to organize and market the Davis Cup for the next 25 years, "says Alonso.

Within Kosmos Holding there is also Kosmos Studios, dedicated to the production of content related to sports. They produce from interviews to soccer stars to the documentary about the decision of the French soccer player Antoine Griezmann on whether or not to renew with Atlético de Madrid last summer. "We have other projects under study, all in a similar line and related to sports," says the right hand in the player's business, adding: "He is 100% involved. We have weekly meetings and it is on top of everything ", assures Alonso.

Andrés Iniesta, the vision of the game

The game vision of Andrés Iniesta It has been one of the great virtues of the world champion throughout his career. Now, close to ending his life as a footballer (last summer he signed for three seasons with the Japanese Vissel Kobe), he wants to transfer what players see on television. And it is getting through First Vision, a company that develops the implementation of cameras on sports shirts to broadcast in real time the perspective of the players.

The company was born in 2014, created by José Ildefonso and Roger Antunes, and the entry of Iniesta came a year later. "The meetings to explain to him and his father the product They went very well They wanted to invest in different things [posee otros negocios, como las bodegas Iniesta] and there was a lot of chemistry, "recalls Ildefonso, CEO of First Vision. That same year, the NBA player Serge Ibaka also invested, and when he got to know the project, he contacted them. The company does not detail the percentage that both players have.

Five years later, First Vision wants to make the leap to start earning money. "We are trying to get out of the desert crossing and sign contracts with federations and the companies responsible for the retransmissions," says Ildefonso.

Until now they have been dedicated to the development and testing of official competitions to promote the product. "We still have to improve to make the camera almost invisible, although what we have does not interfere with sports performance," explains the CEO of the firm. Among the tests conducted, highlights of first level competitions such as the Euroleague basketball.

The business model is based on the rental of material (the relay pack costs about 500 euros per unit and party), although the billing is still not significant: "It only helps us to cover structural costs without taking into account the innovation part ", Add. For that other item, it has a financing round of 350,000 euros open and plans to launch another round this year.

Among the markets that the company is betting on are the big US Leagues, a huge market. "They are very interested. The problem is that the stadiums are very large and are always full, which complicates radio frequency transmission. That's where we are testing the improvements, "said Ildefonso from Granada.

Álvaro Morata, the king of the 'Manolitos'

The fever for Manolitos (minicruasan butter with black chocolate, white or both) it expands quickly. Both in the Community of Madrid and outside, where these sweets will leap in part of the 14 openings planned this year. And already negotiates even in foreign cities. An expansion that is written with M de Morata. The player, who owns 50% of the company with his father and Pablo Nuño, bet on the business in 2017 and the company, Manolo Bakes, already has three own stores and a turnover of 3.3 million euros per year.

"I suggested to Álvaro and his father the possibility of entering the sector and merge with Manolo Pasties to relaunch the product in Madrid and abroad," explains Pablo Nuño, Founding partner and Managing Director of Manolo Bakes, a position he shares with Ángel Terrés. But before finalizing the merger, the Morata family launched Crosantino, another brand with similar products, to see the true potential of the sector. "After three months, we started talking to the Manzano family [propietarios de Pastelerías Manolo] and Ángel Terrés to finalize the merger, "Nuño adds.

From the union emerged at the end of 2017 Manolo Bakes, the joint brand. According to its founders, with the idea of ​​revolutionizing traditional pastry. "We bet on premium products in a sector where low cost abounds. That's what attracts investors, "the manager appreciates.

Among them, other elite footballers who also want to give a bite to the manolitos: "The Fernández family [entre ellos, Nacho, defensa del Real Madrid, y Álex, medio del Cádiz] will open a store in Alcalá de Henares and Sergio Busquets [jugador del Barcelona] together with Thiago Alcántara [jugador del Bayern de Múnich] they will do the same in Barcelona. "

The cost of being a partner and opening a Manolo Bakes store is around 400,000 euros, according to the company. "We have an associate with a store in Madrid that in the first month already fulfilled its financial plan. The repayment term of the investment is around three years, less than usual, "says Pablo Nuño. Something that is based on the sales numbers in the capital: 800 kilos of manolitos a day, exceeding 1,200 kilos on weekend days. The sweetest goal of Morata. And may soon his playmates.


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