Tom Brady ranks No. 2 on Pro Football Focus’ list of the top 50 best players going into the 2019 season. But the New England Patriots quarterback tops his NFL peers in earning player royalties from group licensing.
As reported by The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan, Brady earned $2.35 million from the sales of jerseys, video games, and trading cards with his name or likeness. That figure was taken from the annual report filed by the NFL Players Association with the Department of Labor.
“Group licensing” is defined as six or more players being used in the same deal, which would certainly include any products that involve all NFL players. Most of the revenue earned by the players’ union comes from licensing deals with Electronic Arts (video games), Nike (apparel) and Panini (trading cards).
Brady’s $2.35 million in royalties finished ahead of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who earned $2 million from licensing. Considering he’s going into his fourth NFL season and doesn’t have the playoff success Brady (the league’s oldest position player) boasts, Prescott’s total is impressive and points to the Cowboys’ wide appeal among fans.
However, Brady’s total (which was actually less than the $2.5 million he earned the previous year) is especially notable in a certain context, as one marketing executive told Kaplan. “He’s been in the same market, selling the same jersey for 17 years,” said Russ Spielman, president of sports marketing at GSE Worldwide.
Spielman makes an intriguing point. Brady isn’t the new hotness, like Patrick Mahomes or Baker Mayfield. He didn’t change teams and warrant a new jersey purchase, like Odell Beckham Jr. or Antonio Brown. (Brown ranks No. 3 in royalty earnings, by the way.) Fans are buying that Patriots No. 12 jersey year after year, as Brady continues to play at a high level and win Super Bowl championships. How many fans have purchased more than one jersey?
Brady’s royalty earnings do not include money he earns from endorsement deals with companies like Under Armour, Tag Heuer, Ugg, and Aston Martin. According to Footwear News, Brady earned $14 million last year from those agreements.
One area where Brady lags behind his fellow NFL stars is in the corporate name used to represent himself. Brady files with the NFLPA under the name T.E.B. Capital Management, which sounds extremely corporate and buttoned-up. Compare that to Odell Beckham Jr., who gets right to the point with the name Royalty Only. Sam Darnold uses the name Trojan By the Sea. Kyle Rudolph files under Red Zone Reindeer. And Ryan Shazier uses Make Plays, Not Excuses.
Brady and his company lack creativity, but he’ll surely take the money over the flashy name.