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This year is going down as a rough one for many businesses, the NFL included, especially if America’s most popular sports league can’t finish its 2020 season.
In February, Mahomes won Super Bowl MVP as he guided the Chiefs to their first championship in 50 years. In early July, he signed a historic 10-year, $503 million extension, the largest contract in NFL history. And last week, he became a part owner in MLB’s Kansas City Royals, further inextricably tying himself to the community.
Mahomes — the undisputed king of the NFL, if the indignant reaction to his NFL Top 100 ranking was any indication — is still adding to his burgeoning portfolio, as he officially signed a multi-year deal with BioSteel Sports Nutrition Inc. as an equity partner Tuesday. Ezekiel Elliott and Jalen Ramsey are other notable NFL pitchmen for the company.
Before he got to the NFL, Mahomes never thought he’d sponsor health products. Yet, as he’s come to understand his growing reach as one of the NFL’s most popular players, he sees an opportunity.
“I want to build a legacy, not only for me but for my future generations and for my family,” Mahomes told Yahoo Sports in a recent interview. “I think the best way to do that is finding the right partners that believe in the same values as you do, and that’s being healthy, believing in the future generations and believing in leaving the world in a better place than you went through it.”
BioSteel formally started talking to Jacquelyn Dahl, Mahomes’ manager, a couple months ago in search of a partnership that has long been percolating thanks in part to Bobby Stroupe, the founder and president of ATHLETE Performance Enhancement Center and Mahomes’ trusted, longtime trainer since he was in the fourth grade.
“Bobby and his research … he goes to the deepest ends of research in every single thing,” Mahomes said.
The partnership is the latest endorsement deal for Mahomes, who has supplanted Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady as the NFL’s top salesman. After a breakout 2018 season in which he was named the NFL’s MVP his first year as a starter, Mahomes announced deals that include Oakley, EA Sports, State Farm, Adidas, Procter and Gamble and Airshare (a company that gives him access to private jets).
“For Patrick, really, he could sign any deal he wants,” said John Celenza, the co-founder and co-CEO of BioSteel.
So yes, BioSteel’s decision to partner with Mahomes was also easy, Celenza told Yahoo Sports, despite the fact the partnership comes during a time where the economy has been uncertain due to COVID-19, and companies, in general, seem to be more hesitant to bet big on endorsements.
“For sure, things are definitely slower in the space,” Celenza said.
That didn’t stop Celenza and his company from partnering with Mahomes, who was already using their products thanks to Stroupe, who even trained BioSteel co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cammalleri, a former NHL player.
Adding a partner with the name recognition of the reigning Super Bowl MVP was a no-brainer for a Canadian company seeking to find its American footing as a healthy sports nutrition brand.
“The fact that it was so authentic to both of us and we’re now entering the U.S. marketplace in a major way, the timing made sense and the relationship had already been established,” Celenza said. “In regards to COVID, on the field or not, Patrick Mahomes is still Patrick Mahomes and he still has his presence and his influence.”
Terms of Mahomes’ deal with BioSteel were undisclosed.
Celenza said the company views Mahomes as an “ideal” role model for today’s youth, which his company courts.
“It’s all natural by nature,” Celenza said of his company’s product, “and I know that’s something that’s near and dear to Patrick and the message he wants to get out there with kids and parents.”
That message jibes with Mahomes’ oft-stated desire to leave a multi-faceted legacy, one he also referenced plenty when explaining his decision to work out a lucrative-but-fair deal with the Chiefs instead of driving the hardest of bargains.
And like Brady before him, who made a similar decision in New England years ago that paid off in the form of multiple rings, Mahomes factored in his significant off-field portfolio when deciding whether to give the Chiefs the critical flexibility they would need in future years to maintain a championship-caliber roster.
“I considered everything — you have to look at your stuff off the field, you have to look at your whole value and everything that comes in,” Mahomes said, when asked how much his off-field endorsements freed him to make the same choice Brady made.
“Obviously, it all starts on the field, and you want to find a way to get the best team around you so you can go out there and win football games every single year,” he continued. “I just wanted to make sure that we have a good team and that the people around me that are making me look good every single day are getting theirs, as well.”
And therein lies the wisdom, perhaps, in Mahomes’ holistic approach to his football career and financial security. As the Chiefs keep winning, it’s hard to imagine that Mahomes’ football legacy, overall profile and yes, his off-field portfolio, won’t keep rising, too.
“I’m sure more future things will come, other aspects,” Mahomes said with a grin, when asked if he has any other endorsements or partnerships on the way. “But as of right now, I’m aligned with a lot of great partners that all have the same vision.”
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