Since 1994, the NFLPA has thrown an event called the Rookie Premiere where the 40 most marketable players are invited to begin their off the field professional career. Similar to the rookie symposium which came to an end last year, the Premiere has a few veteran players talk to the rookies about their transition into professional sports, but this event stands out as a tool for the rookies to start building their brand. The last 49ers player to attend the premiere was Mike Davis in 2015. This year the NFLPA invited both QB C.J. Beathard and RB Joe Williams.
The Premiere is a five day event where players can meet NFL partners face to face for business and marketing opportunities. No media is allowed and even player’s agents are kept out of most of the meetings and events. Partners this year included Panini America, Fanatics, Fanatics Authentic, Nike, EA SPORTS, Pepsi, New Era, FedEx, Staramba, WHOOP, Delta Private Jets, FedEx, élevée, Bridgestone, Lyft, NFL Extra Points, Gatorade, Tostitos and Proctor & Gamble brands.
Panini America, the NFLPA's exclusive trading card company, primarily drives player selection by identifying the most promising young prospects based on position, college performance, draft status and projected overall demand. All of these factors impact their trading card value which the players will have photo sessions for at the event.
Along with several photo, video and autograph opportunities for the players, they have their bodies duplicated by a 3D printer for action figures and video game usage.
After a few days of events at the Beverly Hilton the group headed to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for photos and video coverage that will be used for multiple purposes. The players wore NFLPA colored jerseys as well as their team jerseys throughout the event.
Both Beathard and Williams expressed feeling honored to be a part of the event.
It’s awesome, it’s a great honor to be chosen to come to this. It’s a blessing but at the same time I haven’t done anything in the NFL, it’s about what you do from here and I’m looking forward to doing stuff in games and in the season. It’s cool to meet all of the businesses and and get your brand out there, it’s a great event.
It’s a blessing, just being at this opportunity to meet some of the veterans who played 10 plus years, just getting some wisdom from them. Also just starting to brand myself, meeting companies, speaking to executives and starting to network not only for now but for life after football.
Veterans sho spoke to the rookies included Michael Vick, Willie McGinest and Steve Smith Sr., who had William’s favorite quote of the weekend:
“Be remembered not noticed.” - Steve Smith Sr.
Saturday's are for the boys. #RookiePremiere pic.twitter.com/YoGFVepf87— NFLPA (@NFLPA) May 20, 2017
Huge thank you to the NFLPA and it’s production and content company ACE media for allowing me exclusive access to this event and providing additional photos.