This article by Michael Smith appeared in the December 15, 2015 Sports Business Daily.
Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment has completed a sponsorship agreement with the Reese’s Senior Bowl that will enable the Wall Street firm to introduce its financial education courses to the players. The deal represents Morgan Stanley’s first commercial alignment with an event since it began a financial advisory practice in November ’14 for athletes and celebrities. Morgan Stanley Sports & Entertainment Division Managing Director Drew Hawkins said his group has created a special curriculum for the athletes at the Senior Bowl, which will be played Jan. 30 in Mobile, Ala. “What we’re doing is planting the seeds for smart financial decisions, irrespective of what they do professionally after college,” Hawkins said. “With the athletes in the Senior Bowl, these individuals have a very high likelihood of playing professional football, so this will be more of a tailored curriculum.” Atlanta-based MELT, the agency that represents the Senior Bowl, helped arrange the deal and is working with Morgan Stanley on planning. In addition to the financial education, Morgan Stanley will be presenting sponsor of the Senior Bowl practices. The Senior Bowl has been in talks with ESPN about televising the practices in Mobile.
BUILDING FINANCIAL SECURITY: Morgan Stanley will present four segments of its financial education to the Senior Bowl players. Its ambassadors — former NBAer Antoine Walker and former NFLer Bart Scott — will be part of the presentations. The players will be broken down into small groups of 12-14 and rotated through segments that focus on: Drafting the right team around you; Saying No; Budgeting and savings; and Avoiding financial pitfalls. Hawkins said the information presented does not include any sales pitches, and no literature about the firm is included in the handouts. “If the players elect to work with us, then we’ll have that conversation,” Hawkins said. A separate session will be held for the family of the players. “Our focus over the last 3 years has been enhancing the players’ ability to raise their stock on the field and give them a picture of life off the field,” said Senior Bowl Exec Director and former Browns and Ravens executive Phil Savage. “We want to provide an environment that gives them a head start with the 32 clubs. Obviously, having a financial partner on the ground the entire week is a big benefit.” Morgan Stanley has relationships with nine colleges, three NFL teams and the U.S. Snowboarding and Ski Association.