A recent Front Office Sports story talked about how the Rams’ Aaron Donald is quickly becoming the face of the NFL from a marketing side. Pizza Hut, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Electronic Arts, Dr. Teal’s and electric car maker Karma Automotive have all lined up to join the team of the two time NFL Player of the Year. His lineup rivals that of other NFL elite players today, from Patrick Mahomes to JJ Watt, and it continues to rise as the Rams season, and the former Pitt star, continues to move along.
However this week Donald took another step forward, not just endorsing but investing in a rising, disruptive brand that matches his values and passion to give back to the community.
The company is Ready Nutrition, and Donald is joining the privately held company not only as a spokesperson, but as an investor. Why? Philosophy and hometown connections are two key reasons. The Pittsburgh based brand has taken on the challenge of helping young people lead healthier lifestyles to reach peak performance, and wants to impact one million kids who play sports in the next three years. Second, it is a Pittsburgh based company, founded by another former Pitt star, Pat Cavanaugh, whose work ethic and disruptive business thoughts match Donald’s outlook.
A perfect pair in business and mindset.
“I’ve learned during my career through a lot of trial and error that getting the right quality nutrition products in my body can make a big difference in how I perform. So, I am very particular about what I put in my body, very particular,” Donald said in a statement Tuesday. “ Ready Water’s combination of protein, no sugar, and all-natural electrolytes checked all the boxes for me.”
The plan is for Donald to invest not just dollars, but time, into developing a national marketing plan into the offseason that can take advantage of his star power and his interest in helping turn the ride of childhood obesity in the country. Ready Nutrition is already available in over 8,000 retail outlets across the country and have been sold in 15 countries with over 200 college and university athletic programs and four NCAA Division 1 Conferences using their products, so this is no simple startup. It is an escalation of a brand built on grit and hustle, as well as a healthy lifestyle.
“We are proud to have Aaron join our Team, especially how well he matches our brand mentality,” added Cavanaugh Tuesday. “Most importantly, he’s a caring person who likes to help others. We’re excited to partner with someone who is so engaged in helping young people and at the same time is known to be a relentless worker, on and off the field. We LOVE people who believe in our products and our philosophy that it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. Aaron epitomizes this.”
With that, it appears that this partnership in a highly competitive space is off to a pretty good start, a unique hometown marriage of elite athletes turned entrepreneurs with an embrace of social good.
Let’s see where if goes.