Tom Brady and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have recruited lawyers to advise startup businesses they’re separately backing in fitness, media, and collectibles.
Religion of Sports and Autograph, a pair of companies supported by seven-time Super Bowl winner Brady, have hired legal chiefs in Benjamin Mauceri and Jonathan Gottlieb, respectively.
Mayweather Boxing + Fitness Inc., a Los Angeles-based group exercise company created by the world champion boxer, hired DLA Piper of counsel Sarah Bush in Dallas to be general counsel.
The hires are the latest examples of professional athletes helping to create legal work by cashing in on their successes. Brady and Mayweather, among the best in their respective sporting fields, have each in recent years shown up on Forbes lists of the world’s wealthiest athletes.
Bush told Bloomberg Law via email that she’s the first-ever legal chief for Mayweather Boxing + Fitness, which is a separate entity from Mayweather Promotions LLC, the boxer’s Las Vegas-based promotions vehicle. Bush said the company was a client of hers and DLA Piper when she was at the law firm, which she joined in 2018 after working at Foley & Lardner and Winstead.
Mayweather, now mostly retired from professional boxing, made headlines in June with an exhibition match involving former YouTube star Logan Paul. The bout, brokered by entertainment lawyers, was a pay-per-view success. Mayweather has an ownership interest in the fitness company that bears his name.
“I am loving it thus far,” Bush said of Mayweather Boxing + Fitness, which recently opened a franchise in the Dallas suburb of Highland Park. “The corporate culture James Williams has created is amazing and the remote option has allowed us to get great talent,” she said. Williams is the company’s CEO. Bush remains based in Texas.
Mauceri joined Religion of Sports, a Brady-backed sports media company, in July as its general counsel and head of business affairs. Mauceri, a former director of legal affairs at energy drink company Red Bull North America Inc. and lawyer for NBCUniversal LLC and Comedy Central, spent the past half-year as a principal at media and marketing firm Westridge Consulting.
Deadline Hollywood, a trade publication that broke the news of Mauceri’s hire, noted that Religion of Sports’ other backers include former NFL star Michael Strahan and filmmaker Gotham Chopra, son of the author Deepak Chopra.
Mauceri will head up legal and business affairs for the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company, which produces athletic content with an inspirational theme, including “Man in the Arena,” a docuseries starring Brady that will stream on ESPN in the fall. He declined to comment through a spokesman.
Autograph, a non-fungible token company also backed by Brady, hired Gottlieb in April as general counsel. Autograph inked deals in July with DraftKings Inc. and Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. to build a marketplace for digital collectibles and create new NFTs based on the film studio’s catalogue.
Gottlieb, whose role at Autograph has not yet been publicly disclosed, is the latest lawyer to find an in-house job in the increasingly popular NFT space that is regulated by a patchwork of laws related to patent issues and artists’ intellectual property rights. Gottlieb didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Gottlieb is a former group head of legal affairs at Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., whose entertainment assets were sold for $71 billion in 2019 to The Walt Disney Co.
Autograph’s online leadership page lists Gottlieb as its general counsel, while also noting Brady’s role as co-founder, co-chairman of the board, and “NFL legend.”
Brady, a quarterback who plays for the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is no stranger to the startup world. The quarterback’s TB12 nutrition program, which received coronavirus pandemic economic rescue funds, partnered a few years ago with the Purple Carrot Bread Co. LLC to launch its product line.