NBRPA announces alliance with franchise entities

February 22, 2012

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 –The International Franchise Association (IFA) and the Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative (PAFI) today announced a strategic alliance with the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) to collaborate on the development, and execution of a wide variety of programs to benefit former NBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotters players by introducing them to the proven, structured and scalable model of franchising.
The goal of the alliance is to educate and enhance the ability of the membership within both organizations by providing a centralized platform for athletes seeking to get involved in the franchise industry and for franchisors interested in getting involved with the professional athlete community.
"With more than 825,000 franchise establishments supporting nearly 18 million U.S. jobs on nearly every main street in America, we welcome the opportunity to help more aspiring entrepreneurs discover the power of franchising said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira.”Professional athletes are strong leaders in the ultra-competitive sports arena, so they inherently understand the importance of working as a team and as part of a structured system to achieve long-term success."

IFA and PAFI have developed an Athlete Franchisee Education Program. Athletes who complete the program will receive a Certificate of Completion designed to make them more attractive to prospective franchisors. The athletes who complete the PAFI Franchisee Education Program and become franchise owners will receive credit toward the attainment of Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) designation, administered by the IFA Educational Foundation.

"We are confident that this initiative will accelerate the number of former NBA, ABA, and Harlem Globetrotters players that pursue second careers in franchising. Because of these programs, they will now come to us better educated, better informed and properly prepared for their potential new careers in franchising,” said Stan Friedman, Chairman of the PAFI Advisory Board and 1st Vice Chair of IFA’s Diversity Institute.

Many well-known and successful professional athletes have already taken a path to franchise business ownership within well-established and emerging franchise brands. They include Jamal Mashburn (Papa John's and Outback Steakhouse), Junior Bridgeman (Wendy's and Chili's), Tim Biakabatuka (Bojangles), Drew Gooden (WingStop), George Tinsley (KFC, TGIF, Burger King, Pizza Hut), Tyoka Jackson (IHOP), Angelo Crowell (Jersey Mike's), Dewayne White (Dunkin' Donuts), Venus Williams (Jamba Juice), Shaquille O'Neal (Auntie Anne's), Willie McGinest (WingStop), Roosevelt Colvin (The UPS Store), Nate Wayne (Coldstone Creamery), Leonard Davis (Smash Burger), Drew Brees (Jimmy John's), Ron Stone (WingStop) Gerris Wilkerson and James Butler (Golden Corral) and recently Reggie Bush, Dennis Northcutt, Cory Ivy and Keyshawn Johnson entered into franchise deals (Panera Bread).

"Professional athletes are becoming more conscious about the longevity of their careers and realizing more effort should be placed into planning for a professional life beyond sports," said PAFI Founder and Executive Director Michael Stone. "The PAFI approach is to educate the professional athlete community on the specific and proven value proposition that the franchise model provides. The NBRPA partnership will accelerate the development and delivery of our programming and coaching to their members."

As part of the alliance, IFA and PAFI will co-develop Franchise Summits for professional athletes and franchisors, while also providing resources to produce publications such as the PAFI Playbook. PAFI will also develop and manage an Athlete Franchisee Education Program. The program is uniquely designed to prepare professional athletes looking to transition from a career in sports into the franchise industry. Participants who follow the curriculum and complete the program will receive a Certificate of Completion to make them more attractive to prospective franchisors. PAFI will facilitate athlete-franchisee peer-to-peer forums and connect members of the NBRPA to PAFI’s team of franchisor coaches and mentors. The partnership with NBRPA will enable PAFI to expand its reach and strengthen its network of professional athletes.

“This exciting collaboration will bring investment, employment and networking opportunities to the NBRPA and its members,” said Arnie D. Fielkow, CEO of NBRPA. “Several of our members are already involved in franchising, and these future programs with the IFA and PAFI should open doors for several more.”

About the Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative (PAFI)
PAFI is a bridge that connects the professional athlete community to the franchise community through education, research and interaction. PAFI fulfills its mission by partnering with stakeholders in the professional sports and franchise communities to build education based programming for professional athletes interested in learning about the franchise model and franchisors and suppliers interested in discovering ways to open doors to this niche audience. To learn more about PAFI visit www.thepafi.org.

About the International Franchise Association (IFA)
The International Franchise Association is the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. Celebrating over 50 years of excellence, education and advocacy, IFA works through its government relations, media relations and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising. Through its media awareness campaign highlighting the theme, Franchising: Building Local Businesses, One Opportunity at a Time, IFA promotes the economic impact of the franchise industry, which supports nearly 18 million jobs and $2.1 trillion of economic output for the U.S. economy. IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in marketing, law and business development. For more information on IFA, please visit www.franchise.org.

About the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA)
The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) is comprised of former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotters. It is a 501(c) 3 organization with a mission to assist members’ transition from the playing court into life after basketball. Founded in 1992 by basketball legends Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Archie Clark, Dave Cowens and Oscar Robertson, the NBRPA develops, implements and advocates a wide array of programs to benefit its members, supporters and the community. The NBRPA works in direct partnerships with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. Arnie D. Fielkow is the CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes President & Chairman of the Board Robert A. (Bob) Elliott, Vice President Danny Schayes, Treasurer Marvin Roberts, Secretary Steve Hayes, Past President Dr. George W. Tinsley Sr., Thurl Bailey, Otis Birdsong, Harvey Catchings, James Donaldson, Gregory “Bo” Kimble, and LaRue Martin. For more information, please visit www.LegendsofBasketball.com.