Broncos’ Browning headlines new investment platform for fans to buy stock in their favorite players

BY Arnie Melendrez Stapleton

DENVER (AP) — A new investment platform that allows fans to buy and sell shares in the future on-the-field earnings of college and professional athletes has received federal approval to begin trading on the U.S. stock market.

Denver Broncos linebacker Baron Browning will headline Vestible Inc.’s initial offering the week of March 18.

Vestible is entitled to 1% of Browning’s on-field income, which will be distributed to shareholders, for the remainder of his NFL playing career.

Vestible announced on Thursday the launch of its app for iPhone and Android after it received clearance from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Fans who register on the platform can buy stock in athletes beginning with Browning, a rising young edge rusher who is entering a contract year in 2024, when he’ll make about $3.1 million with the potential for a substantial pay raise with free agency a year away.

Vestible will make available up to 100,000 shares at $10 apiece in Browning’s public offering. Shareholders will receive monthly dividend distributions or they can trade Browning’s stock on the platform which operates alongside Templum Markets, Vestible’s broker dealer.

Browning, who will receive 80% of the proceeds from his IPO, fits Vestible’s profile as an up-and-coming player with a massive upside potential.

“You see the potential for what his next contract could look like, the potential for what kind of player that he could be in this league,” said Vestible cofounder Yves Batoba. “That type of upside is really where the intrigue is. Not just from a football standpoint, but of course from an investment standpoint, as well.”

Browning made a successful switch from inside linebacker to edge rusher in 2022 but he also suffered a partially torn right meniscus that season that caused him to miss training camp last summer and the first six games in 2023. Upon his return, he played a major role in Denver’s defensive-fueled turnaround.

Denver Broncos linebacker Baron Browning (56) rushes during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Bart Young)

“It’s cool to think I’m going to have my own stock,” Browning told The Associated Press recently, calling the new investment platform “a game-changer not just for me, but for athletes everywhere.”

Vestible is the brainchild of Batoba and Parker Graham, former teammates on Oklahoma State’s football team more than a decade ago who each had brief stints in the NFL — Graham as an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens in 2014 and Batoba as the Miami Dolphins assistant director of player development for several years.

After football, Graham went to work in investment management and founded the banking software company Finotta. This is his second start-up. After several years with the Dolphins, Batoba branched out into comprehensive athlete development.

As they tell it, they found out how to combine their skills three years ago when they cofounded Vestible to allow athletes to sell equity in their professional playing careers with fans investing via IPOs.

Other platforms have attempted to unite the sports and investment worlds, but those ventures used tracking stocks with values tied to an athlete’s on-field performance. Vestible’s securities are solely based on market demand.

Vestible intends to follow Browning’s launch in the coming months with other athletes from across the NFL, NBA, college football and NCAA men’s and women’s basketball. But the focus now is on Browning and other football players.

“Baron is an athlete who is waiting on his next contract. It’s kind of like a prove-it season for him,” Graham said. “So he’s got a lot of his future (earning) potential locked away from him right now. And so a part of what we’re doing is helping him access that capital that helps him create that brand value he has today.

“And a lot of athletes are experiencing that exact same problem. So, a lot of them will be similar to that sort of persona, folks who haven’t really made their big second contract yet but are excelling and outperforming the contract that they’re currently in.”



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