Alex Rodriguez: From Baseball to the Shark Tank
Season 9 of Shark Tank features some new guest Sharks, one of which is none other than former baseball player Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod). It is becoming more and more common to see major league athletes build companies around their name, and A-Rod is one of these athletes.
This fall baseball icon Alex Rodriguez is diving into the Shark Tank -- ABC’s hit business reality show.
“I’m very proud that I’m the first Hispanic shark,” said the former Yankees slugger, known as A-Rod. “I’m the first athlete shark, which is kind of cool.” What’s really cool? You should know: A-Rod is about as big a power hitter in business as he was America’s pastime.
His A-Rod Corp holding company has a hand in auto dealerships, gyms and real estate with a payroll of about 500 employees. It’s a rare diamond in the business world considering only 0.3% of the 5.9 million U.S. companies employ more than 500 people.
A Shark Tank entrepreneur would commit a major foul in declining an offer from the three-time MVP.
His 953,000 followers on Twitter, 1 million on Instagram and 1.5 million on Facebook will score eyeballs galore for any product. He could go to bat for companies seeking deals with professional sports teams or leagues.
“The potential of one plus one equals three is always in play if you partner with me,” Rodriguez said in a recent phone interview. “I can pretty much get you wherever you need to be to either show your pitch or show your product. If you are someone who needs to get into Walmart, we’ll go out and get you a meeting with their top executives.”
Champion of the Fastest-Growing Market
No other shark could wield as much influence over the fastest growing U.S. demographic like this bilingual Dominican American. At nearly 57 million, Hispanics account for 18% of the U.S. population and are expected to more than double over the next four decades, according to Nielsen. Their buying power of $1.3 trillion eclipses the gross domestic product of Russia -- the world’s 12th largest economy. If they were a state, it would be the fourth largest behind California, Texas and New York. Hispanic buying power is projected to hit $1.7 trillion in three years.
Should Rodriguez’s girlfriend join the game, the marketing potential multiplies exponentially. Actress and pop star Jennifer Lopez sports 42.9 million Twitter followers, 68.8 million on Instagram and 42.2 million on Facebook.
In the Shark Tank, the World Series champion considers himself a rookie. He’s more focused on finding good entrepreneurs with a strong management team than striking a home run with the next fidget spinner.
“It's always been my philosophy that I invest in jockeys and not horses,” said the 14-time All-Star. “Even if that business doesn't work, this is somebody I want to be in business with and perhaps I can bring them into one of my other projects. And we can build something because I believe in people. People actually run the business. People and players actually win championships.”