Talks of a 2020 NFL lockout have been looming for almost a decade. Yesterday’s email distributed by NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to agents instructing them to prepare for a work stoppage did nothing to reduce anxiety on the topic.
Lockouts are never a positive or welcomed measure – by fans or players. Nevertheless, they do occur. And when they do, most athletes are left scrambling for a paycheck and a way to maintain their visibility.
The small silver lining in all this madness is that each player, coach, and executive currently has more than a year to get their ducks in a row. It’s never fun to look for a job when you already have one but putting your head in the sand isn’t a survival strategy.
Below are some tips for players, coaches, and executives to prepare themselves, and their brand, for a potential lockout.
Have a Plan
Waiting until the end of the 2020 season to decide what’s next for you is too late! Especially for those whose brand might need a little rehabilitating, waiting until the lockout is in effect is like waiting until you’ve already retired to start saving money.
Here are a few simple questions to ask yourself to help get a lockout plan in motion:
- What would you like to do if there’s a lockout? (Hint: “Nothing” is likely not the right answer.)
- Will this new endeavor earn you a steady income? (If no, consult with your Financial Advisor to see if this plan is feasible.)
- What resources will you need to help prepare you for this new endeavor? Will you need to take a class? Renew a certification? Update social media platforms like LinkedIn or update your resume? Get additional speaker or media training?
- What content or outreach will be needed for this new endeavor? Will you need content like a speaker reel, a presentation deck, or a media kit to support your new career objectives?
Know Your Sponsorship Status
It’s to be expected that most companies aren’t interested in sponsoring a player or coach if there’s isn’t an active NFL season. That said, there are individuals and sponsorship deals that transcend the football season, or lack thereof. If you’re a player or coach, it’s important to know which applies to you. There could be a scenario where your sponsorship will remain intact, but without an active season your ability to create engaging content will likely require additional strategy.
Don’t Forget to Volunteer
Whether you’re financially viable enough or not to weather a season-long lockout, don’t forget to take time to give back to those less fortunate. Participating in community service projects allows you to maintain hands-on engagement with fans while doing something good for your community.
Without the daily structure that an active season provides, it’s easy to slack off when it comes to creating and posting content to your social media platforms. Just like your workout regiment, taking too many days off from positing quality content has a negative impact. The lifespan of social media content is shorter than you may think, so be sure not to take too much time off. You don’t want to give your fans a reason to forget about you.
Assemble Your Transition Team
As of right now, the 2019 season appears to be full steam ahead. This means your main priority should remain playing, coaching, and leading. To reiterate, you don’t want to put this topic on hold. Engage those around you, i.e. your agent, publicist, significant other, etc., to help you develop and executive a plan to keep your bank account and personal brand in great shape during a potential lockout.