Golfer Greg Norman is the latest athlete to sell his future licensing rights and endorsement income.
The 62-year-old Australian will be paid an undisclosed sum by Authentic Brands Group, which will now be a partner in controlling the direction of the consumer products division of The Greg Norman Company, which was known as Great White Shark Enterprises until late last year.
ABG will help guide not only the brand in apparel and accessories, but also in Norman's already developed business in steaks and wine, the latter entering its 17th year in business. The partnership excludes other parts of The Greg Norman Company including its investment arm, branded real estate and the 102 golf courses he has designed, as well as the 45 under contract around the world.
"I was at a corporate retreat three years ago and asked people there if we should do a 12-year plan or a 200-year plan and people looked at me like I was crazy," Norman said. "What this is that 200-year plan. I've built my platform and my credibility up for the last 30 years and now I want to set it up to grow in perpetuity."
Norman said he wasn't sure if he would ever sell a controlling piece in his business, but he ultimately decided to give ABG a piece of his "holy grail."
For ABG, Norman is the fourth athlete business they now control. The company bought the rights to the Muhammad Ali estate in 2013, Shaquille O'Neal in 2015 and Julius "Dr. J" Erving last year.
"Greg is a little different from some of the sports properties we've partnered with in the past," said ABG's chairman and CEO Jamie Salter. "He crosses all three pillars that we look for: fashion, sport and entertainment."
In the endorsement world, ABG is particularly interested in getting Norman into the health and wellness space, as the "Baby Boomer" population grows older.
"It's easy to see that Greg is a walking billboard for the embodiment of wellness," said ABG's chief marketing officer Nick Woodhouse. "He lives the aspirational lifestyle that proves 60 is the new 40."
This is not the first time Norman has sold one of his businesses, as he gave up his events business, The Greg Norman Production Company, to Wasserman in 2015.
The most famous part of the Norman brand, the shark logo itself, recently underwent a change that took it from its familiar rainbow color to a monochromatic blue, which Norman said came as a result of focus group feedback.
When Reebok created the logo in 1991, the original idea was to have it be one color, but it conflicted with a European company that had a similar logo. The rainbow stuck and thrived.
Norman turned pro in 1976, after working at an Australian golf club for about $30 a week the year before. He won The Open Championship in 1986 and 1993 and came in second in eight majors. In one of the more savvy moves by an athlete, Norman bought 12 percent of Cobra Golf for $1.9 million in 1991. Five years later, when the company sold, he made $40 million.